Bordeaux – “You confine our bodies but you will never confine our souls”: several hundred Catholics gathered again on Sunday morning in front of the cathedrals of Bordeaux and Toulouse to demand the return of mass in the churches, prohibited during the confinement.
Kneeling in the shade of Saint-André cathedral in Bordeaux, more than 300 faithful recited a rosary and sang songs and recitations of prayers during a static rally declared in the prefecture, under the watchful eye of a police presence discreet and between two streamers “Give us back mass“and”Stop the health dictatorship“.
“For us, Mass is vital. We need it now and now. This ban is nonsense. Sanitary measures can be implemented and respected in churches“, explained to AFP Elisabeth Blanchet, a student who started the collective with four friends”For Mass Bordeaux“.
“We’ll be there every Sunday as long as they don’t give us back mass“, she added. On November 15, more than 300 Catholics had already made an appointment in the square of the Saint-André cathedral.
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Before the collective prayer, one of the organizers asked the faithful to reach out to move away from each other, in order to respect social distancing.
“The right to mass, leaders must protect it and guarantee it to us“Said this young man wearing a large black beret over the microphone. It is not a”community claim“, he said. “We are not a state within a state, we are a church“.
Among the faithful, of all generations, some carried small signs like “Less cathode ray tubes, more catholic masses” or “Mass, a basic necessity“.
“Can we go to pray (at mass) please? Communicate among Christians and meet face-to-face because in virtual, it is a bit lacking …“, asked Laurence Valay, who came from Talence, in the suburbs of Bordeaux.
For this lady wearing on her mask an inscription “mass, freedom“, the government “is anticlerical, christianophobic and christophobic (sic)“.
In Toulouse also a few hundred Catholics, many of them families with children, gathered in front of Saint-Etienne cathedral for the second Sunday in a row.
“Our freedom of worship has been taken from us. We need to go to mass to fully live our faith“Marie-Clémence Bourgeois, a 20-year-old design student, told AFP.
Thomas Robesson, 42, came to demonstrate with his family, does not understand “the logic” of the government: “The buses are full, the subways are full, the supermarkets are full, but mass is prohibited?“.