They were celebrated for nearly two years on the ball field, in the shade of plane trees. On May 26, the mayor of Lavandou decides to cancel outdoor Masses held each summer in this small town in the Var, to escape the heat of the church located steps. Reason given: “The sectarian tensions and the events of 7 January 2015 [the attack against Charlie, note] lead us not inflame critics followers of secularism, as does not expose parishioners gesture of an unbalanced or a fanatic, “ writes the mayor, Gil Bernardi (LR), in a letter to the town priest that he reveals his parishioners: “I do not want to politicize the event. But I have to inform them of what is happening “, he explains to the Figaro.
But the letter quickly made the rounds of social networks before being taken over by the municipal opposition: “ Our history is linked to Christianity. The Catholic religion respects secularism. It does not punish a religion for extremism of another. Your security grounds will they make you give up any outdoor event? “ wrote in an open letter Thierry Saussez Councillor opposition and former communications adviser to Nicolas Sarkozy.
The far-right websites also relay information in deforming. The mayor “submits to Islam” it said. The faithful are launching a petition had collected 500 signatures. “Everything went very far with extremely violent comments s on the Internet says the director of communication of the municipality. It has also received many calls for criticizing the mayor’s decision. “ Gil Bernardi repeats that he has nothing against religion (he himself is Catholic and the origin of these masses outside) but it took without this decision for security issues “never received threats” provided.
“Contribution to the appeasement”
” There have never been any problems between the different denominations of the town, “ he adds before reaffirming its position in a statement Wednesday: ” The situation has changed since the events of January Last in our country which calls on all leaders to question public safety in a context of international and national tension “ And to answer his critics. ” It behooves us all to help appeasement and not to the exacerbation of multiple tensions. “
But surprisingly, Thursday, Gil Bernardi finally relented. Masses are well maintained, as every summer Sunday on public roads. This is according to him no one “setback” but a willingness to “calm the spirits” and claims to have reached an agreement with the pastor of the parish. Security will be provided by the mayor and the e priest agrees to celebrate “a discrete mass with a sound less strong to respect those who do not participate in the service.”