By Hilary White
ROME, June 24, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) - An outspoken French bishop has clashed with local civic authorities over their promotion of the heavily anti-religious Gay Pride demonstrations held in his area on June 20, calling them "yet another official offence aimed at the Catholic Church."
Bishop Marc Aillet of Bayonne issued a press release June 18th, calling the Gay Pride events in the city of Biarritz in south-western France, "blasphemous" and an act of contempt for the "Catholic Faith and religious life that so strongly characterizes the soul, culture, and traditions of the Basque region." He singled out the presence of the anti-Catholic group "Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence," whose members dress in bizarre sexualized mock nuns' habits.
In a letter to Biarritz mayor, translated and published by the weblog Rorate Caeli, Bishop Aillet expressed his "profound incredulity" that the event was being allowed. He called the demonstrations, which he said are "made by groups who are for the most part outsiders in the city of Biarritz," "disruptive," and deplored the fact that they expose children and young people to "aggressive displays" of "sexual license." These, he said "can only have a negative effect on social morality and the common sense of the majority of our citizens."
"I cannot even imagine how Muslims and Jews would react if the symbols of their religious traditions were used in this way."
In response, Mayor Didier Borotra bluntly told the bishop to mind his own business. "I was ashamed to read your letter of June 18," he wrote. Borotra said that the bishop is obviously "not familiar with the laws of the Republic" under which the Gay Pride events are protected.
"As a politician I do not meddle in the affairs of the Church and I advise you to do the same concerning the affairs of City Hall." The mayor went on to say that he and the bishop "do not share the same concept of freedom of speech and public demonstration."
In his press release, the bishop said, "The Church intends to defend and promote, in all circumstances, the family, founded on marriage between persons of different sexes and the right of every child to be raised by a father and a mother."
He said while the Church rejects the claims of the homosexualist movement, it "eminently respects" persons with homosexual inclinations "with care and compassion for the suffering and difficulties that are so often theirs."
Aillet, who was appointed by Pope Benedict XVI to the diocese of Bayonne last year, is becoming known as one of France's most outspoken Catholic bishops on life and family issues.
A mere six months after his installation, the 52 year-old Bishop Aillet blasted the French government for promoting the "barbarism" of embryonic stem cell research. In a statement in May, he accused the French Estates General on bioethics, in its endorsement of embryo research, of promoting "a violence committed against every human being and definitively against God."
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