On Thursday evening, Catholic decision-makers met in Pigalle. A stone's throw from the Moulin Rouge, some fifty rectangular tables have been set up in the vaulted room of the Élysée Montmartre, plunged into darkness, as if to promote a certain intimate atmosphere. Wishful thinking. Each of these 400 people was invited, by co-optation, before paying €195 for their ticket. The principle of this banquet is unprecedented: "A Crif catho ofnon-Freemason builders has never been set up before," smiles a guest who joins the platform where the first arrivals are chatting under sepulchral lighting. "Do Catholics form a community? asks Pierre Arlaud, representative of the Scout movement. The network of northern families, who appreciate discretion, is not well represented. It's hard to put all the Catholics in the same place.
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Stripped of their motorcycle and bicycle helmets, the figures press with a quiet ardour, as one goes to confession, towards three transparent jars from which they draw, at random, the name of their table. "We opted to let Providence place people," smiles Jérémie Berthon, 34, head of transformation and engagement at Axa France, one of the four organizers. After kissing his sister, Minister Bruno Le Maire settles down between an artistic producer and a man committed to education in the Bouches-du-Rhône. Often in a hurry and stingy with their time, Jean-Pierre Jouyet, the former secretary general of the Élysée, Cécile Duflot, Max Guazzini, François Morinière and Augustin Paluel-Marmont, let themselves be guided, like the others.
Archbishop Éric de Moulins-Beaufort, President of the Bishops' Conference of France, finds himself at the table of serial entrepreneur Pierre-Edouard Stérin, founder of Smartbox and The Fork, as well as a private equity firm that manages 1.2 billion euros, redistributed to the Fund for the Common Good. Discreet, his words as clear as the water of a river, he explains that he draws his coherence of life from his faith. He has chosen to donate 100% of his wealth to causes, and not to pass on his wealth to his children. "You're never smarter than when you don't have money," he whispers. On the other side, François-Daniel Migeon, a graduate of the Ecole Polytechnique, evokes the inexhaustible virtue of resource moments. His St. Thomas More-inspired coaching has already convinced 7000 clients.
The Archbishop of Nanterre, Matthieu Rougé, who began his journey alongside Cardinal Lustiger, does not miss a crumb of the scathing speech of the academician François Sureau: "We are the disciples of the one who failed everything, Jesus... The disciples of this master who had no place to lay their heads, he continued in front of a stunned assembly. The uniqueness of Christians is that they are on the road, on the journey. It is a question of completing the invisible work of salvation with our microscopic actions.»
Valuing "the Good that doesn't make noise"
For the four friends in their thirties who initiated this evening, it is a question of valuing "the Good that does not make noise". Mindful of the diversity of ages, opinions, and even the religious practice of their guests, they call for a renewal in the commitment of the laity. "It's about creating the conditions to meet, exchange and strengthen each other," explains Stanislas Billot de Lochner, co-founder of Obole.
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Silhouettes slip, a glass breaks, a brigade of waiters with uncertain gaits appears. These are the "biscornus", these "different" young people - a time-honoured term for those who live with a disability. They cooked dinner with not perfect fruits and vegetables and provide service to all.
Is it the prerogative of the "Catholics" to be disciplined? A thick three-minute silence prevailed towards the end of the evening, after Tanguy de Williencourt's virtuoso interpretation of Schubert on the piano. The abbot of the Cistercian Abbey of Cîteaux said to the guests, who were more accustomed to giving orders than to receiving them: "Close your eyes. Silence is there, at our disposal. Let us breathe this great breath, which is essential to our decisions." Amen. Be continued.