What Jean Castex will say to the Catholic Church

Prime Minister Jean Castex at the Hôtel de Matignon in Paris on November 13, 2020 (THOMAS PADILLA / MAXPPP)

That the Prime Minister himself chairs this meeting is not trivial. “He follows the subject very closely “, replied the executive again this Sunday at 6 p.m., time at which the Ministry of the Interior had control of the meeting. Then over the evening the question of Jean Castex’s presence arose. Behind the scenes, there were exchanges, discussions.

At 8 p.m., confirmation: it is the Prime Minister who will ultimately chair the meeting. And if the representatives of all religions will be present – Buddhists, Muslims, Jews in particular – the government is keen to send a message to Catholics, who are particularly upset against the ban on masses.

The episcopate intends to file an appeal tomorrow with the Council of State to lift this ban, after a weekend marked by demonstrations by the faithful in several cities. And then there’s Christmas, in a little over five weeks.

We will give perspectives, visibility. The idea is to work on hypotheses “, explains an advisor. In other words: say from today on under what conditions the churches will remain closed to the faithful at Christmas. Under what conditions also they will be able to reopen their doors to them.

A minister put it bluntly: “We will not be able to relax at Christmas if we have not returned to an acceptable level. “The same judge as”it is not possible to impose six weeks of confinement and then say: do anything for fifteen days.”

Another confided that the president himself, in private, “believes that people should not be sold dreams and that they think they can spend Christmas in peace. “In public, the Elysee refuses any public comment.”Emmanuel Macron has a particular relationship with worship and spirituality “, slips a member of the first circle.

The same refers to the speech the Head of State gave in April 2018 to the Bishops of France, at the Collège des Bernardins in Paris. A sentence had caused a lot of ink to flow: “A President of the Republic claiming to be disinterested in the Church and Catholics would be failing in his duty.”

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