BOOK. “Bernanos without concessions”: finding hope again

BOOK. “Bernanos without concessions”: finding hope again
BOOK. “Bernanos without concessions”: finding hope again

Bernanos without concessions

by Mgr Patrick Chauvet

Fayard, 180 p. €20

Mgr Patrick Chauvet was the rector of Notre-Dame Cathedral when it fell prey to flames in 2019. Now priest of the Parisian parish of Madeleine, it is since this new mission begun in 2022 that he delivers his look at today’s world, in the light of the writings of Bernanos, an author he loves. The writer has been dead for seventy-five years, and lived in a time very different from ours. However, the words of the one who denounced the civilization of machines in France against robots (1946) sometimes seem written in the era of Chat GPT and artificial intelligence.

Patrick Chauvet, who bases this work on the courses and conferences he gave, notably at the Collège des Bernardins, therefore uses these prophetic writings to “ help to understand what is happening and point out the signs of hope. » Because what has always fascinated him about the Catholic writer is this mission endorsed by “ restore hope, where it has disappeared “. If his writings are given to us, it is “ to think, not to repeat them! “. Bernanos “saw the dangers for our culture, the damage of wars, the dehumanization, the breakdown of society… But also the little hope which seems like nothing at all, to quote Péguy. »

In a world disrupted by wars and climate change, in a country going through a serious social and economic crisis, in a Church shaken by sexual violence committed within it, the priest of La Madeleine asks himself: “ Who will show happiness » to our contemporaries? Yes, “ mediocrity, whether we like it or not, is also in the Church », he admits following Bernanos who so often denounced it. How can she exercise her prophetic ministry today? “ By joining, he replies, all those who are overwhelmed by difficult situations, fragilities and wounds, telling them how much they are loved by God. »

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