In Toulouse, Catholics demonstrate against their “confiscated freedom”

Some came with their families with strollers and children frolicking around the small fountain. Others display tricolor flags adorned with a heart surmounted by a cross, emblem of the Chouans during the Vendée war during the revolutionary period. Sunday, like everywhere in France, several hundred Catholics shouted their rosaries for an hour in front of the Saint-Etienne cathedral in Toulouse, to demand the return of public masses in churches, prohibited by health measure in the face of Covid-19. The most fervent kneel when reciting the I salute you marie which will be chanted a good thirty times.

Photo Ulrich Lebeuf. Myop for Liberation

Read alsoNo, churches are not closed while mosques and synagogues remain open

Some of the older faithful brought folding bags so as not to remain standing during the whole ceremony, halfway between street prayer and a static demonstration. “We are here to demand a freedom confiscated by the government and that the Council of State did not see fit to give back to us”, explains Bastien, the organizer, a 23-year-old student, in a makeshift megaphone, the megaphone provided by the organizers of the rally having died. Not enough to disconcert the half-dozen young people who follow one another on the parapet overlooking the square of the cathedral to lead the ceremony alongside a banner asking soberly: “We want mass”.

Toulouse November 15, 20202, Confinement: hundreds of Catholics demonstrate in Toulouse for the return of mass Places of worship are open but ceremonies are prohibited during the reconfinement.  Hundreds of Catholics demonstrated this Sunday afternoon at Saint-Etienne church in Toulouse to demand the return of masses.  Photo: Ulrich Lebeuf / Myop for Liberation Photo Ulrich Lebeuf. Myop for Liberation

Provocations ?

“It is an initiative of the laity”, would like to underline the young musicology student from Jean-Jaurès University. In the audience, a few religious in robes, but the assistance is essentially family. The average age is remarkably younger than during regular Sunday services. Other students patrol the outskirts of the small triangular square, armbands on their arms. The organizers have planned their own security service, while the agents on duty in front of the prefecture which adjoins the cathedral are content to observe the scene. “We have to be careful because of possible provocations”, explains a young organizer. A few weeks ago, the visit of the mayor of Béziers Robert Ménard and his wife on the occasion of a demonstration of the Manif pour Tous had given rise to some friction with anti-fascist activists in the streets of Toulouse.

Toulouse November 15, 20202, Confinement: hundreds of Catholics demonstrate in Toulouse for the return of mass Places of worship are open but ceremonies are prohibited during the reconfinement.  Hundreds of Catholics demonstrated this Sunday afternoon at Saint-Etienne church in Toulouse to demand the return of masses.  Photo: Ulrich Lebeuf / Myop for Liberation Photo Ulrich Lebeuf. Myop for Liberation

Read alsoWhen traditional cathos infiltrate the mass liberation movement

This time, the organizers preferred not to publicize the event too much outside their circles. “I heard the news from my son”, testifies Marie, a retiree from the village of Lagrasse (Aude) where she regularly attends the abbey led by traditionalist canons. Bastien, the young student from Toulouse, explains that he took care to submit a formal demonstration request to the prefecture on Wednesday. But Geneviève Chotard remains invisible: this 23-year-old Toulouse woman is part of the group of young Catholics at the initiative of a petition calling for the return of masses at the end of October, which has collected more than 100,000 signatures. A history student, the young woman occasionally collaborates with Infos Toulouse, a local ultra-right pure-player.

Toulouse November 15, 20202, Confinement: hundreds of Catholics demonstrate in Toulouse for the return of mass Places of worship are open but ceremonies are prohibited during the reconfinement.  Hundreds of Catholics demonstrated this Sunday afternoon at Saint-Etienne church in Toulouse to demand the return of masses.  Photo: Ulrich Lebeuf / Myop for Liberation Photo Ulrich Lebeuf. Myop for Liberation


Editor’s Note. Photographer Ulrich Lebeuf, who covered this gathering for Release, was violently assaulted by a protester, who damaged his equipment, tore off his mask and punched him in the face. A complaint will be filed.

Stéphane Thépot

.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.