Print Version    Email to Friend
Peeved Le Pen takes aim at bishops and the pope

PARIS (SE): In taking a couple of rather pointed digs at the two candidates for the run off of the presidential election in France, Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen, the Conference of the Bishops of France isolated respect for the weakest members of society, migration and loyalty as citizens of Europe as the three main principles that people should seek to protect in casting their vote on May 7.

The spokesperson for the bishops’ conference, Bishop Oliver Ribadeau Dumas, seems to have had Le Pen in his sights when outlining the need to care for the weakest segments of the community and migrants.

Le Pen told the French Catholic newspaper, La Croix, on April 17 she believes charity is just something that should be left up to individuals, whereas the state should pursue its national interests.

She sounded off at Pope Francis for his stand on the responsibility of wealthy nations to do more for refugees and welcome immigrants, saying that he should keep his nose out of politics.

She added that if she becomes president she will invite him to visit France so she can tell him just that.

She also implied that religion should be a purely private concern and not impinge on the public square, adding that Muslim symbols should be outlawed in people’s dress, as you should be able to pass someone in the street without knowing what their religious affiliation is.

In return, Le Pen had her own dig at the bishops saying she thinks that they have overstepped the bounds in clearly signalling distaste for her National Front, which she has since disassociated herself from, saying that she is not a National Front candidate.

For their part the bishops say they are simply offering comments in the light of Church social teaching on the policies of the two candidates.

They ask, “When some countries host millions of refugees, how could our country shrink from the prospect of welcoming and integrating tens of thousands of these victims?”

On the unity of the European Union, they call for genuine adherence to the European project, while at the same time keeping a deep respect for national identity, along the lines of the principle of subsidiarity.

Although Le Pen says she has always been faithful to the Church and never doubted her faith, it does not seem to have much to do outside of the private realm of her own orbit, lacking the community dimension of working for the kingdom.

But the toughest criticism came from Philippe Cardinal Barbarin, when he said, “This has been our worst-ever election campaign, characterised by the unforgivable accusations, total critiques, violence, chaos and the misleading of voters. It seems we’re dealing with a democracy gone mad. Those who win are just electoral animals, not competent, rational politicians.”

More from this section