French society is “dying of spiritual thirst” and “an incredible expectation” was apparent in the youth, said Philippe Barbarin, archbishop of Lyon and Primate of the Gauls, yesterday in the Vatican. The cardinal made a sombre assessment of the faith of Catholics, of whom 4% – 5% are practising. He referred to information “that there are three times more young Muslims in the mosque on Friday than Catholics at mass on Sunday”. He urged Catholics to be “humble, passionate, intrepid” in their faith.
“Why does our society react furiously to the words of a bishop,” he also asked, referring to himself, criticised for an interview implying that homosexual marriage could open the path to polygamy and incest. According to him, antisemitism and islamophobia are growing along with hostility to Christianity:
“In some districts, the Christians are afraid . A priest was spat on in the metro because of the crucifix he was wearing,” he revealed.