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French Intellectuals Pen ‘Appeal to Truth’ In Support of Benedict XVI

A number of prominent French men & women have written a ‘call to truth’ supporting Pope Benedict XVI in the current media storm and pedophilia scandal. As the Appeal’s about page says, Pope Benedict XVI “is the first pope to address head-on, without compromise, the problem. Paradoxically, he is the subject of undermining and personal attacks, attacks relayed with a certain complacency on the part of the press”.

The list of original signatories includes writers, essayists, literary critics, bloggers, professors, philosophers, businessmen, senators, members of parliament, mayors, publishers, actors, a Protestant minister, a Fields medal winner, and even a sexologist.

The ‘Appel à la Vérité’ is reproduced, in an unofficial English translation, below:


The cases of pedophilia in the Church are, for all Catholics, a source of profound grief and great sorrow. From members of the Church hierarchy were, in some cases, serious deficiencies and failures, and we welcome the Pope’s wish to shed light on these cases.

With the bishops, and as members of the Church, lay Catholics bear the brunt of the crimes of certain priests and failures of their superiors; they fall firmly, as Christ taught, on the side of those who suffer most from these crimes, the victims, while praying for the culprits.

As for us, we hope with all our hearts that the whole truth comes out and all in the Catholic Church that could enable these offenses brought to Christ should be discussed calmly and amicably amongst all men and women of good will.

At the same time, we regret the runaway and provocative press that accompany these cases. Beyond the legitimate & democratic right to information, we can only note with sadness, as Christians but also as citizens, that many media in our country (and in the West in general) treat these cases with bias, ignorance, or delight. Shourtcuts in generalizations, the portrait of the Church which is currently done in the press does not match the experiences of Catholic Christians.

While reiterating our horror at the crime of pedophile priests and our solidarity with the victims, we urge the media to an ethic of responsibility that would undertake a more ethical treatment of these cases. The effects of runaway media are, by far, reserved to the Church, but we are tired of and battered by this thrashing. We think of so many priests who courageously, and sometimes in solitude, bear the message of Christ.

We are with them.

We welcome the letter from the bishops of France to Pope Benedict XVI, and wish to see the Catholic Church, with serenity and responsibility, through this painful ordeal.

This appeal was launched at the initiative of François Taillandier (writer), Frigide Barjot (humourist), Natalia Trouiller (journalist & blogger), Koz (blogger & lawyer), and Francis Miclo (philosopher).

Original signatories (31 March 2010):

Jacques Arènes (pyschoanalyst and writer)
Denis Badré (senator)
Frigide Barjot (humourist)
Jean-Marc Bastière (journalist and writer)
Claude Bébéar (honorary president of AXA)
Michel Boyancé (Dean of the Institut de France and comparative philosopher)
Rémi Brague (philosopher, member of the Institut de France)
Alexis Brézet (journalist)
Jean des Cars (writer)
François Cassingena-Trévedy (Benedictine monk, liturgist and writer)
Jean Chélini (historian, permanent secretary of the Académie de Marseille)
Ghislain du Chéné (international coordinator of Foi et Lumière)
Colette Combe (pscyhoanalyst and writer),
François Content (Director-General of the Fondation d’Auteuil)
Philippe Delaroche (writer, journalist)
Chantal Delsol (writer and philosopher)
Patrick Demouy (historian, university professor)
Bernadette Dupont (senator)
Bertrand d’Esparron (corporate communications manager)
Emmanuel Falque (philosophee and writer)
Olivier Florant (sexologist)
Jean-Christophe Fromantin (mayor of Neuilly-sur-Seine, businessman)
Réginald Gaillard (Editions de Corlevour)
Patrick de Gméline (historian)
Samuel Grzybowski (President/founder of the association Coexister)
Fabrice Hadjadj (essayist and playwright)
Rona Hartner (singer, actress)
François Huguenin (writer)
Vincent Hervouët (journalist)
Yvon Jacob (chief executive, former member of parliament)
Gaspard-Marie Janvier (writer)
Pasteur Alain Joly (Lutheran Church)
Patrick Kéchichian (writer and literary critic)
Koz (blogger and lawyer)
Louis-Etienne de Labarthe (editor-in-chief, Il est vivant)
Philippe de Lachapelle (director of the OCH)
Laurent Lafforgue (mathematician, winner of the Fields medal)
Gérard Leclerc (essayist, journalist)
Henrik Lindell (journalist)
Michael Lonsdale (actor)
Victor Loupan (editor, La Pensée Russe)
Jean-Baptiste Maillard (journalist, essayist)
Bruno Maillé (teacher, essayist)
François Maillot (Director-General, La Procure)
Jean-Luc Marion (philosopher, member of the Académie Française)
Jean-Pierre Marcon (member of parliament)
Nicolas Mathey (Professor of Law, Université de Paris V)
Jean-Pierre Machelon (Professor of Law, Université de Paris V)
Marc Mennessier (journalist)
François Miclo (philosopher)
Jean-Marc Nesme (member of parliament & mayor)
Philippe Oswald (journalist)
Xavier Patier (writer)
Patrice de Plunkett (writer and blogger)
Hugues Portelli (senator)
Jean-Frédéric Poisson (member of parliament)
Aymeric Pourbaix (journalist)
Guillaume de Prémare (communications consultant, Médias & Evangile)
Edmond Prochain (blogger, journalist)
Samuel Pruvot (journalist)
Jacques Rémiller (member of parliament & mayor)
Alina Reyes (writer)
Damien Ricour (actor)
Ivan Rioufol (essayist, journalist)
Catherine Rouvier (jurist, political scientist)
Jean Sévillia (journalist, writer)
Grégory Solari (editor)
Raphaël Stainville (journalist)
Denis Sureau (editor, theologian)
François Taillandier (writer)
Denis Tillinac (writer)
Henri Tincq (journalist and writer)
Hubert de Torcy (editor-in-chief, L’1visible)
Vincent Trémolet de Villers (journalist)
Natalia Trouiller (blogger, journalist)
Didier Truchet (Professor of Law, Université de Paris II)
Patrick Tudoret (writer)
Christian Vanneste (member of parliament)
François de Wendel (business executive)

This post was published on Friday, April 9th, 2010 10:10 am. It has been categorised under Arts & Culture Benedict XVI Church France and been tagged under , , .
Dino Marcantonio
9 Apr 2010 1:23 pm

A hopeful sign. Is that a Yahoo translation?

Andrew Cusack
9 Apr 2010 1:27 pm

A Google translation, corrected for its technical infelicities by myself.

Father Bryan Storey
9 Apr 2010 3:35 pm

Of course; thanks to you all

Ramon Wals
9 Apr 2010 4:22 pm

Our Holy Father Benedict XVI has been the only Pope since Vatican II corrageous enough to have started to stamp out the decease of sexual abuse that has afflicted the Church for over 45 years.

My wife and I wholeheartly support and defend this holy and suffering man of God as he is the Successor of St. Peter and appointed by the Holy Ghost.

Catholics must unite with ONE voice and next to our Pope in order to counter attack the vicious and unworthy media which is full of deceipt,corrupt and errors.

God bless our Holy Father, God protect our Holy Father
Dear Mother of God console our Holy Father!

9 Apr 2010 5:10 pm

Interesting. But I would like to point out that ‘comedien’ should be ‘actor’ not ‘comedian.’

Andrew Cusack
9 Apr 2010 6:05 pm

Thank you Pelerin — a fairly glaring error on my part!

Martha Dancy
9 Apr 2010 10:50 pm

The real problem was that quite a few bishops never acted on these cases when they should and let these men hang around as priests. This has got to change now. I believe the pope is doing his best to correct the situation. I think, too, that if all this hype helps to make bishops more responsible about these problems then the cases will dwindle.Hopefully, the old cases will die down, too. I think that Pope Benedict is a great pope and a real intellectual. I hope he can handle all these lawyers and journalists. My prayers are with him.

Annamaria Biro
22 Apr 2010 8:21 am

I support from all my heart the initiative of these conscientious people who had enough brave to stand for our Holy Father and the Catholic Church. Everyone does mistakes because all of us are humans and cannot prevent the Enemy’s (I am not talking here about people, but about Christ’s enemy) temptation. The priests’ responsibility is, however, greater because they are the main representatives of Christ’s Church and the world blames the Church based on their behaviour. We do not have the right to judge one another, only God has it, but we can and must express our disagreement with any non-Christian behaviour. It is not enough, however. We can do a lot more: PRAY for them. We are also responsible for our priests. They are attacked by the Enemy heavier exactly because they are priests, consecrated people, the only ones who can transmit us the Sacraments. It is our responsibility to assist them with our prayers.
I support also Father Bojte Csaba’s (Franciscan monk in Deva, Romania) initiative to talk about our positive experiences regarding our priests. I am sure that there are several saint priests living among us who helped us a lot in the development of our spiritual life and not only. The mass media is keen on emphasizing the wrong doings of some catholic priests, making the public believe that the majority of priests are like that. We all know that it is not true and we must not remain quiet. Let the world know the truth! I encourage everyone to describe their positive experiences regarding their priests. It can be done here, too: (The website for the original, Hungarian version is: Do not forget: PRAY, PRAY, PRAY…GOD BLESS YOU!

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