the non secular, key issue, and but uncared for | EUROtoday

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” VS“may be very uncommon and undoubtedly it’s an involuntary however important awkwardness…” This former high commissioner is surprised that, among the 34 personalities invited to meet Emmanuel Macron on his arrival in Nouméa, there is no representative of religions and Masonic lodges. This spiritual dimension, however, is one with New Caledonia, which Michel Rocard understood well in 1988.

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“Religious practice remains a key to understanding and explanation,” underlines this skilled on the island. The persons are imbued with it. The affect of religions has diminished among the many loyalists, however the separatists stay hooked up to the Protestant and Catholic faith. » Roch Wamytan, who’s each president of the Congress and the FLNKS, is a religious Catholic. As was Jean-Marie Tjibaou earlier than him who, earlier than marrying a Protestant, was a Catholic priest.

“Roch Wamytan was formed in the shadow of Tjibaou, particularly at the time of the Matignon agreements. » The man who thus testifies to the Point is a French Catholic bishop, known and respected, Mgr Jean-Yves Riocreux, the former rector of the cathedral of Notre-Dame de Paris. Before this position, and the direction of the dioceses of Guadeloupe and Pontoise, he began his ecclesiastical career – and even before, as a layman – in New Caledonia, where he was priest then parish priest of Nouméa Cathedral, from 1974 in 1986. Mgr Riocreux has never severed his link with the island, whose news he has followed closely for forty years. And even more, we suspect, in recent days when the man of God says he is “dismayed” by the outbreak of violence.

Christian missionaries arrived ten years earlier than the French flag.Mgr Jean-Yves Riocreux

New Caledonia has no secrets and techniques for Father Riocreux. Nor Roch Watyman, whom he has identified for a really very long time. “He is part of my family,” exclaims the priest. My brother is his son's godfather. And I had him as a pupil on the minor seminary the place I taught arithmetic, earlier than he left to proceed his research in Lyon, then on the theology college in Strasbourg. I additionally knew his grandfather Roch Pidjot, who was the primary Melanesian deputy, additionally a fantastic Catholic. In any case, I’ll let you know: the independence leaders are all baptized, Catholic or Protestant. »

Politics and religion blended

The Christian faith is, the truth is, completely intertwined in native historical past. “The Christian missionaries arrived ten years before the French flag,” explains Jean-Yves Riocreux. It was Marist Catholic monks who first settled in 1843, concurrently the Protestants established their bases on the Loyalty Islands (Maré, Lifou, Ouvéa). The Melanesian inhabitants continues to be divided at present between Catholics and Protestants, half every. »

Same story from the historic Churches of New Caledonia, Catholic and Protestant, who launched in a joint press launch learn in all their locations of worship, a couple of days in the past, for the Pentecost celebrations: “The island closest to heaven has become the island closest to hell. So much political talk is disqualified. They are no longer audible, credible. All that remains is the authority of the Gospel. »

“For me, politics and faith are mixed,” says Roch Watyman, a non-ordained deacon who typically quotes the Gospel of Saint John and Deuteronomy at political conferences. The historian Agnès Brot – who lived there when her husband, Jean-Jacques Brot, was the excessive commissioner of the Republic – recounts, in a e book she devoted in 2018 to Jean Lèques, mayor of Nouméa and first president of the federal government of New Caledonia, how he was someday supplied – to be forgiven for having filed a grievance towards him – by the independence chief getting back from a pilgrimage to the Holy Land a… magnificent crucifix.

The independence chief was current in the course of the priestly ordination of Jean-Yves Riocreux in Nouméa, and he has already assured his buddy that he would make the journey for his golden jubilee (fifty years of priesthood), in a couple of weeks in Saint-Étienne. Emmanuel Macron would undoubtedly have been effectively impressed to ask the previous rector of Notre-Dame to accompany him to New Caledonia.