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Thursday, May 30, 2024

The 2024 Paris Olympics is a blatantly foolish attempt by France's leftist government to eradicate the country's Christian heritage

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The 2024 Paris Olympics is a blatantly foolish attempt by France's leftist government to eradicate the country's Christian heritage

Amid the French government’s numerous controversial attempts to set the stage to wow international visitors and French residents at the upcoming Summer Olympics in Paris this year, one key concern has been raised by conservative-leaning critics of the leftist Emmanuel Macron administration: that of a France that is losing or has lost its Catholic heritage.

 

Notably, surrealist artist Ugo Gattoni’s contentious omission of a cross atop the prominent Saint-Louis-des-Invalides Cathedral in the official Olympics poster, featuring a spire instead, understandably irked French Catholics and conservatives alike.

For one, Marion Maréchal from the nationalist Reconquête! party posted on X on March 5:

“What is the point of holding the Olympic Games in France if we then hide who we are?”

Likewise, François-Xavier Bellamy of the Republicans party penned on X:

“They are ready to deny France, going so far as to distort reality to cancel its history. How can we understand the Invalides by erasing the cross which constitutes its profound meaning? How can you claim to love a country when you do everything to destroy its roots?”

“While it may be a voluntary error, it is serious,” Gilles Smadja, former chief of staff of the French Sports Ministry, declared in an interview with news outlet Le Figaro.

For centuries, the Catholic Church and France were inextricably linked. Nonetheless, the Masonic-driven, bloodthirsty and destructive French Revolution in 1789 marked a key turning point in France’s relations with the Catholic Church.

Gilbert Collard, a conservative parliamentarian, went even so far as to accuse Gattoni as a “traitor guilty of the fundamental denial of France.”

In turn, Gattoni justified his omission:

“I do not seek to make [objects and buildings] look faithful to the original, but rather that we could imagine at a glance what it is, while projecting it into a surreal and festive universe. I evoke them as they appear to my mind, without ulterior motive.”.

A commentary on the FSSPX website lamented Gattoni’s omission as a “dislocation of the Catholic framework”. The same commentary added that the exclusion of the cross can be viewed according to the lens of the “‘exculturation’ of Catholicism”:

“...to use the neologism of the sociologist Danielle Hervieu-Léger--that is to say, of a silent decoupling between Catholic culture and the common culture which has made the Church lose her capacity to nourish the living cultural fabric of society, beyond just her faithful.”

True enough, while some left-leaning observers may think that the aforementioned French conservatives were overreacting to Gattoni’s poster, the Saint-Louis-des-Invalides Cathedral, originally constructed in the late 1600s by then-king Louis XIV, is a monumental testament to the long-standing ties between the Catholic Church, the Catholic French monarchy, and the country of France itself.

For centuries, the Catholic Church and France were inextricably linked. Nonetheless, the Masonic-driven, bloodthirsty and destructive French Revolution in 1789 marked a key turning point in France’s relations with the Catholic Church. Since then, official Church-State relations have taken a nosedive, with the anti-clerical Jules Ferry laws trying to eradicate the Catholic religion from French public school education in the 19th century.

That being said, attempts by Christophobic elements in France to “cancel” Christianity are a fool’s errand. After all, France can trace its origins back to the conversion of King Clovis, while heroic figures like King St. Louis IX, St. Genevieve and St. Joan of Arc have graced the annals of French history.

Recently this year, the anti-life Macron administration voted to revise the country’s constitution to make abortion a “human right”, prompting French bishops to lambast such a move as an “attack on human life”. Evidently, as with its predecessors in the past century, the Macron government is not operating with Catholic principles in mind.

That being said, attempts by Christophobic elements in France to “cancel” Christianity are a fool’s errand.

After all, France can trace its origins back to the conversion of King Clovis[1], while heroic figures like King St. Louis IX, St. Genevieve and St. Joan of Arc have graced the annals of French history.

Even the power-hungry Louis XIV, commonly referred to as the “Sun-King”, despite ill-advised attempts to make the French Catholic Church more “independent” of Rome, arguably saw the Catholic religion as instrumental to boosting his own grip on power, so much so that he tried to revoke the Edict of Nantes[2] and convert the Protestant Huguenots (a move that proved disastrous, but that is subject matter for another discussion).

While France had its own share of heterodox figures like Napoleon Bonaparte and Maximilien Robespierre, these figures were juxtaposed by courageous Catholic defenders like François Athanase de Charette and others in the Catholic Vendée uprising against anti-Catholic forces.

In fact, it can be argued that Catholicism featured considerably even among the prominent, anti-clerical minds of France's history, including Voltaire and Jean-Jacques Rousseau. This is because Catholicism was the very religion these anti-Catholic personalities sought to exterminate in their sarcastic writings or gossip in France’s salons.

Just as the great English writer Gilbert Keith Chesterton proclaimed that “if there were no God, there would be no atheists”, one can similarly claim that “if there were no Catholicism in France, there would be no French anti-Catholics.”

The recently concluded and well-attended Traditional Latin Mass pilgrimage from Paris to Chartres also bears testament to the reality that despite left-leaning Vatican and state attempts to “cancel” Catholicism and the Traditional Latin Mass from France’s socio religious milieu, French Catholics are back with renewed vitality to re-establish the Reign of Christ the King, just as their Vendée ancestors did years ago.

Furthermore, Hilaire Belloc famously declared that “Europe is the faith and the faith is Europe”, maintaining that it was Catholicism that gave the hitherto non-civilized Europe its culture and civilization. France, being a part of Europe, cannot deny this incontrovertible reality.

As of 2024, the number of adult baptisms in France has increased considerably for the fourth consecutive year. Additionally, the recently concluded and well-attended (in fact, oversubscribed!) Traditional Latin Mass pilgrimage from Paris to Chartres also bears testament to the reality that despite left-leaning Vatican and state attempts to “cancel” Catholicism and the Traditional Latin Mass from France’s socio religious milieu, French Catholics are back with renewed vitality to re-establish the Reign of Christ the King, just as their Vendée ancestors did years ago.

Besides, Catholic associations like SOS Calvaires’s efforts at restoring wayside crucifixes across France are highly commendable as the country faces the ongoing influx of Islamic immigrants with no religious or cultural links to Catholic France.

In light of all these facts and developments, the globalist and anti-clerical French government’s efforts to stifle the Catholic Faith and France will not succeed, for Catholicism has a God, who, in Chesterton’s own words, “knew the way out of the grave”.

Latest from RTV — UNITY MATTERS: 20,000 Clans Shut Down City of Chartres

[1]  Diane Moczar, Ten Dates Every Catholic Should Know (Sophia Institute Press, 2018), 36-45.

[2] Diane Moczar, Ten Dates Every Catholic Should Know (Sophia Institute Press, 2018), 136-138.

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Last modified on Thursday, May 30, 2024
Angeline Tan | Remnant Columnist, Singapore

Angeline is a Catholic writer who enjoys Catholic history and architecture. Her favorite saints include Saint Joseph, Saint Therese of the Child Jesus, Saint Philomena and the Blessed Virgin Mary, Queen of all Saints.