Major Signs of Religious Revival Seen in France and Quebec
By Peter J. Smith
May 26, 2006 (www.LifeSiteNews.com) - France, once called the Eldest Daughter of the Church, has begun to awaken from her deep secular slumber, and so has her daughter Québec. France and Québec have been the respective leaders in the European and North American continents in the culture of death, but there are definite signs of a promising renewal.
Better yet, France may even have found its champion against what Pope Benedict has called "the dictatorship of relativism."
Nicolas Sarkozy, one of the most visible public ministers of France and favorite for the 2007 presidential election, has publicly broken with the most sacred tenet of secularism by calling for the Republic to actively and publicly support religion.
In a book entitled La République, les religions, l'espérance [ The Republic, the Religions, and Hope], Sarkozy makes a salient call to critically examine the legacy of secularism in France, and instead calls for an active secular government that funds the work of religion in France from funding church buildings to financial aid for clergy formation to church use of public property. Sarkozy says its time for France to revise the current 1905 law mandating total separation of church and state to renew a youth that he says have no ideals.
France is experiencing a renewal based in a reawakening of Catholic identity in its people that is large part due to the burgeoning number of renewal communities. In France, over 100 charismatic renewal communities have been founded in the last 30 years. This is giving rise to the new résistance against secularism, as the renewal congregations are drawing people to Christ by bringing this Catholic identity in their situation.
In an interview with Deal Hudson of the Morely Institute for Church and Culture, Bishop Rey, one of the leaders of the renewal gave this cheerful view: "The Church is not dead; she sleeps, and it is my job to wake her."
The revival and slow turn away from secularism that is starting in France explain what is otherwise unexplainable: France has the 2nd highest birthrate in the European Union. Other Catholic countries, such as Spain and Italy, which have nearly the lowest in the European Union: 16th and 17th respectively, are moving towards more secularism, a road that France is slowly rejecting.
Now that the French are beginning to man the barricades against the "dictatorship of relativism," it may mean that there is renewal for her daughter: Quebec. Today, the once Catholic province of Quebec is the leader in the Canadian federation in the highest divorce, abortion, and out-of wedlock birth rates. Quebec, which until the election of Stephen Harper nearly always dominated the prime ministry and Canadian politics, was the birthplace of abortion in Canada.
However, that culture may be facing a change as over 10,000 young Québecois Catholics gathered together last Saturday at the Colisée Pepsi - numbers that haven't been seen in over 20 years. The "true army of 10,000 fervent Catholics" as Journal de Québec called them, participated in a spectacular entertaining event of over 4 hours long celebrating the 11th anniversary of Evangelization 2000.
The event featured public Catholic personalities like the comedian Marcel Leboeuf, who spoke of how a pilgrimage to St. James de Compostella transformed his life at a time when he was at the bottom of his carrier. The events founder Sylvain Charron, vehemently condemned the "Da Vinci Code" saying "people are ready to believe anything! It's a novel! The Evil One does everything in order to get these very believers to doubt". The event ended with the little Jérémy Gabriel moving the energetic crowd with the song he had performed for Pope Benedict XVI a week and a half before.
10000 Faithful Gather at Pepsi Colisée (original in French)
Nicolas Sarkozy Rethinks Secular Legacy of France