31 years apart – in 1954 for Abbé Pierre and in 1985 for Coluche – the two men had in common that they had launched a vibrant appeal on the airwaves and triggered a surge of national solidarity in the fight against poverty .
The founder of the Emmaüs community and that of the Restos du coeur met for the first time in 1986. Coluche, admiring the work of the priest, decided to offer Emmaüs the 1.5 million francs in profits from the Restos du heart. The Abbot accepts the gift, persuading the big-hearted comedian to continue his commitment.
A historic homily
In a work entitled “Nothing except the essential”*, Marc Juliel enjoys imagining the exchange that the two men had on the day they met. Later, Abbé Pierre declared on television, speaking of Coluche: “When he was in front of me, at one point I saw the mask lifting; we all have a mask.”
A few weeks after this “agreement”, the comedian died suddenly. At the request of Coluche’s mother, a Catholic, Abbot Pierre celebrated the burial. During the homily, the “brother of the poor” paid him a tribute that has become famous: “To my friends, if you hear that this man respected nothing, say that it is not true! I am a witness. When there had subjects that deserve respect, he was serious.”
For Coluche’s son, Romain Colucci, the two men are undeniably strongly linked: “They were not content with words or a sermon for Abbé Pierre and an announcement for Coluche: both went to action. That’s their panache! They both resonated with their times. Their words and their actions made us act collectively, this is for me one of the common points between the faith and commitment.
* A relationship traced and analyzed in Nothing except the essential, by Marc Juliel, Ed. Harmattan, 100 p. ; €13.50.