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january 26, 2007 (0054us)
father Pierre

Right before I posted #0054 I receive a comment. It is about father Pierre and kinder to him than my piece of writing. Here's this comment — I have taken the liberty of enhancing it a bit:

  • Abbé PierreToday I am thinking fondly of father Pierre (the French for Peter) as a brother. He passed away on January 22 early in the morning at the venerable age of 94. The leg of the Good man is to be four ages old, The Revelation of Ares says. Admittedly father Pierre was not the Good man in the strict meaning of the word in The Revelation of Ares, but he was a noteworthy whistler (VVVI/19). The Good, which has absolute value, does not belong in charity alone, but in a great whole made of values far more complex and extensive. Charity, however, has to be performed! Father Peter used to excel in it.
    The death if that true gentleman of the "remnant"—a word that brother Michel derived from small remnant which means the core of the penitents (see "We Believe, We Do Not Believe")—occurs in winter, right in the season of housing shortage, the "opposable" housing mentioned in the us0053 post. It occurs fifty-three years after father Pierre protested very loudly, so starting a never-ending chain of very loud protests which were to be heard by all of the French rulers. He protested first in 1954.
    Father Pierre was "feared and accepted as a fact by the world's leaders," say the French news, which like to crow just as the French cockerel does— In a lot of countries, however, the news have not even mentioned his death; well, let's not make a fuss about it!—Father Pierre, even though he was a staunch member of the Catholic Church, indiscriminately sided with any part of humanity in a state of weakness: the Muslims in Bosnia, the Tibetans in China, the malnourished Indians, the Americans in a state on undercitizenship and the French homeless, whom Coluche was anxious to help too. So doing he sort of demonstrated that the church failed in her duty and that christianity had not yet come into existence. Furthermore, he pleaded the cases of priests who wanted to get married. He represented an opportunity for his church, but she did not like him much. The people liked him, instead.
    There is a movie which recounts the 1954 beginning of the Emmaus movement. Few people know that movie and/or have watched it. That movie has never had a wide distribution, because it is realistic and morally committed, different from the highly sanitized film in which Lambert Wilson plays father Pierre. The title of the movie, that I recommend, is "Les Chiffoniers d'Emmaüs" ("Emmaus rag-and-bone men"). You can find it at René Chateau's store in VHS version. Pierre Mondy, Bernard Lajarrige and some other talented actors perform in it. The film was shot decades ago. It features father Pierre full of great energy and great courage, a real hero of the "remnant"!
    José O.

A very nice comment, isn't it? More laudatory that my piece of writing, because I once met father Pierre in the eighties and since then have grown less praiseful. I thought that he was a priest filled with absolute love. I found out that he was verging on the dualistic concept of the poor representing goodness and the well-off representing evil. I amazed by his manichaeism said, "You present yourself as a judge. Which is not a man of God's attitude, but a politician's attitude. Politics is in permanent need of opponents, but you can't be so! " He muttered something like, "I appeal to the Government or authorities, but I never appeal to the well-off." Then I told him that a man should not keep on belonging in the church, which the well-off have always supported, and enjoying the glamor of the cassock, when he is manifestly biased against some people whom the Gospels and even the church have never banished. Broadly speaking he retorted, "You don't know anything about it. The well-off are irredeemably selfish." I replied, "Are you stuck in the old days' concept that Heaven opens in front of the poor and Hell in front of the rich?" I pointed out that all of the rich were not necessarily wicked (Luke 16/1-31) and that some well-off persons might be as charitable as father Pierre and even in not so much hyped-up a way: When you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing (Matthew 6/2-4). He shook his head. Then I pointed out that, in any case, the problem of good and evil did not fit in the very limited issue of opposition of the poor to the rich or of misfortune to happiness or of killing rifles to rifles slung over the shoulders, but lay elsewhere, a problem global and infinitely more profound which could be solved but only when the creature re-creates himself or herself by gaining absolute love, absolute forgiveness, absolute peace, absolute spiritual freedom. He giggled and put an end to our meeting. Seated in my car, I took down a few notes, "Materially speaking, an altogether unselfish man, but he has expertly limited his argument to the publicity-grabbing dualistic clichés. Hence a French-style loud mouth and, as only loud mouths are heard and even loved when colorful in this country, he has been heard. What coul be more natural? As for instant charity, father Pierre is a hardworking, efficient, good organizer... Well done! But no upheaving ferment or depth. No great change will ever come out of that kind of man. Which explains why they, authoritie and media, let him speak..." I added, "After all, today he may have heartburns or a backache."
As I sat down at the table, I took a glance at the TV and saw the state funeral at Notre Dame, Paris cathedral, a short while ago. Wow! What a posh ceremony! The president of the republic, the procession of the bishops... Father Pierre would not have liked it. I was overcome with tender feelings for father Pierre, a man so rough, but so unaffected.

copyright 2007

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