It is facetious and happy, the AFP photographer, to have captured this image: the President of the French Republic, this Republic so secular, raising his eyes to the sky, his hands clasped like a child making his evening prayer. Especially since we are in Lourdes, the Marian city. Emmanuel Macron is he greeting the pilgrims, higher near the basilica, as we sometimes do, taking inspiration from Asian customs; does he applaud them?
Constantly watched by reporters, public figures find themselves overexposed: their gestures, their looks are scrutinized and their expressions interpreted. Even the words exchanged aside can be deciphered, by lip reading. It is possible that some may know how to play it! But it can be overwhelming. We remember with embarrassment videos showing the German Chancellor, standing during a formal moment, taking incompressible tremors. Or of President Macron, again, wiping a tear during the ceremony at Mont Valérien for the tribute paid to the last companion of the Liberation Hubert Germain. Real emotion or shine of the sun in the eyes?
It is facetious, the journalist who designed the layout to have associated this photo with the title where it is a question of “outstretched hands” to Catholics! The article analyzes five years of relations between the President of the Republic and the Catholics. In fact, it is increasingly difficult to speak of Catholics as a uniform community, in terms of political ideas and votes, even though, as the polls quoted indicate, they may have been united against it. extreme right (would it always be the case?) or in favor of the European construction… One thing is certain, it is that this population of practicing Catholics, perhaps because it is older, votes more than the average .
Why do Catholics say they are disappointed with the policy pursued during these five years? Some will blame President Macron for not having done enough to stem poverty, to reduce inequalities, not enough in favor of migrants or refugees. Others will focus their judgment on societal developments such as the opening of medically assisted procreation to female couples and worry about possible changes in the law on the end of life; still others will criticize it for not sufficiently protecting French identity against globalization; others, finally, for not being sufficiently committed to environmental issues …
No elected politician, today, faced with the cultural and religious diversity of the country which he must take into account, could not be considered as perfectly Catholic-compatible (who of us would be?) And approved by all Catholics, who do not will not analyze its action with the same priority criteria. The fact remains that many of these Catholics act within our society, explicitly or not, in national or international solidarity, health, education, support for young people and families, the media, by striving to be consistent with the Gospel message, in the service of the good of all. Of this, of the role of religious convictions in civic engagement, politicians must be aware.