January 15, 1995 |
He defended homosexuals, recommended using condoms and said priests should be free to marry. By Friday, the Vatican had heard enough and took an extraordinary step--it fired French Bishop Jacques Gaillot. Although the Vatican publicly warns priests to obey theological guidelines and avoid partisan politics, the Pope in recent times has almost never taken the ultimate step of dismissing a bishop.
January 14, 1995 |
The Vatican said Friday that it had removed a leading liberal French bishop from his post because of his unacceptable behavior and his public stance on certain issues. The rare sanction was taken after Msgr. Jacques Gaillot, bishop of Evreux in Normandy since 1982 and dubbed "The Red Cleric," upset the Roman Catholic hierarchy with his unorthodox views on issues ranging from AIDS to workers' rights.
January 20, 1995 |
When the Vatican summoned Bishop Jacques Gaillot to Rome, he was otherwise occupied. In fact, France's outspoken liberal prelate was in Haiti visiting President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, another priest who has had disputes with the Holy See. Call it an omen. Gaillot eventually made it to Vatican City, where he was dismissed last week as head of the diocese in Evreux, west of Paris, becoming the first French bishop since World War II to be so harshly disciplined.
September 19, 1996 |
The signals are as diverse as condom water bombs, an alliance of left-wing protesters, a unifying king dead for 15 centuries and a modern bishop stripped of his flock and left to wander the Internet. But the message is the same: France, the "eldest daughter" of the Roman Catholic Church, has lost enthusiasm for its faith. The pope's passe in France.
July 8, 2000 |
Andrea Ambrogetti revealed his homosexuality in a parish confessional many years ago and still remembers the disembodied voice of clerical condemnation--one that has driven legions of gay Roman Catholics from the church. Branding gay sex sinful, the priest offered him a choice: "Marry a woman, or don't do anything." Ambrogetti, an Italian academic who is now 36, chose neither marriage nor celibacy and eventually stopped going to confession.
February 2, 1988 |
As always, the images on French television that came back from the Paris-to-Dakar rally this year were spectacular: Powerful cars zooming through African sandstorms in the eerie blue twilight, the wheels of motorcycles setting off geysers of golden sand as they crossed the Sahara, trucks struggling like helpless white monsters through great sand dunes. But the rally ended in the third week of January without the usual glory and pride and sense of excruciating accomplishment.