the vote in the European elections shows a division within Catholic voters

the vote in the European elections shows a division within Catholic voters

The Europeans have shown it: we can no longer speak of a unified “Catholic vote”. Before these new elections, we wanted to decipher this underlying trend.

He embodied a possible “refuge” vote for many Catholics heirs to traditional Gaullism or a certain vision of social democracy. François-Xavier Bellamy, vice-president of the Republicans (LR), nevertheless disoriented them on June 13 by launching on the microphone of Europe 1: facing a candidate from the New Popular Front, and “to block the extreme left ( …) I will of course vote for an RN candidate.” Until then, Victor, 36 years old, a convinced European, believed that “in terms of family values ​​and on questions of human dignity” François-Xavier Bellamy's speech “came closest to the evangelical message”. And what will he do in a few days if he has to choose in his constituency of Vélizy (Yvelines) between the union of the left and Jordan Bardella's party? Answer: “I will vote blank. »

The call of the bishops

The last European elections confirmed what other ballots suggested: we can no longer speak of a unified “Catholic vote” more or less positioned on the center right. If regular practitioners* remain a little less sensitive to the power of attraction of the National Rally than the others – 18% voted RN –, the trend is evolving in favor of the party founded by Marine Le Pen: 40% of occasional practitioners granted it their voice. Even territories traditionally shaped by the heritage of Christian social democracy, like Brittany, are being tempted.

For a long time, French bishops, without giving explicit voting instructions, have invited citizens to resist the extreme right. But do these calls still have weight when the practice is declining? Politically, the right-wing Catholics no longer have a home base. “LR was deprived of all its cards by Emmanuel Macron,” analyzes sociologist Nicolas de Bremond d’Ars. This formation no longer has an identifying figure, as François Fillon may have been for some. »

In her neighborhood in the Paris suburbs, Sandrine, the daughter of immigrants, saw the feeling of downgrading and ordinary violence grow. For this committed Catholic, “enough is enough” now prevails over the moral analysis of the upcoming elections. Last Sunday again, she was verbally attacked by a veiled woman who had denied her priority in a queue. A few minutes later, his fed-up was reflected at the ballot boxes by a pro-Bardella ballot. “We tried the others. We might as well give them a chance too,” she says.

A vote now taken

Although the RN has excluded some traditionalists from its ranks, it also appeals to Catholics from conservative circles, who place questions of national sovereignty, control of immigration and questions of morality at the very top of their scale of values. family. Philippe, a 49-year-old senior civil servant, assumes his RN vote, just as he admits to feeling closer to Benedict XVI than to the current pope. Calls from bishops? The latter “are no longer credible,” he squeaks. They made a pact with the macronie. I do not expect voting instructions from them but reminders of Catholic doctrine.” At no time does he mention the contradiction between her message and the speech of the RN. In his eyes, Jordan Bardella's RN has succeeded in breaking away from the National Front with its sulphurous past. “My vote will be based on the candidate. If he is involved in the project of uniting the rights around the RN, I will follow him. »

For Véronique, on the other hand, the RN was never an option. Which does not prevent this employee of a college in Île-de-France from excluding her support for La France insoumise (LFI), led by a Jean-Luc Mélenchon adept at discord and with anti-Semitic overtones. The personality of the candidate in his constituency will be decisive: “I will probably vote for the New Popular Front, but I hope that an LFI has not been positioned in my constituency. »

And the left-wing Catholics in all this? The associative dynamic still mobilizes circles of committed Catholics. Like a handover between the old Catholic Action activists and the new generation, a minority, who respond to the social and environmental calls of Pope Francis' encyclicals. Collectives such as Anastasis, the Lutte et Contemplation network, the interreligious ecological movement GreenFaith, express their opposition to the ideas of the extreme right. As Nicolas de Bremond d'Ars points out, “French Catholics are finally joining the values ​​of their civil world, leaving the religious world to exhaust itself in finding a way out. »

* Going to mass at least once a month.

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