Bring back the good old times of the French Revolution, Cécile! Like in 1791, when the Jacobins decided to expropriate the Church to offset the debts of the state.
Duflot is a member of the Green Party, confirming the metaphor of environmentalists as watermelons, green outside but red inside.
Hers was not a request, but a real threat. On 3rd December, in an interview with Le Parisien, she said she found the solution to the winter cold problems faced by the homeless, adding that she would not understand if the Church did not share the government's goals of solidarity and hoping that there will be no need for a showdown: "Therefore the Church must provide its unspecified 'semi-empty properties' to accommodate the poor, or else".
The prestigious Le Figaro wrote in an editorial the next day: "It is the latest insult in the series of attacks that this minister delivers against an institution that interferes with her fight for homosexual marriage. It is irresponsible. Francois Hollande would do well to pay attention to the training of his ministers."
Duflot's attitude is not easy to understand: the French Catholic Church in effect has historically always been involved in helping and offering shelter to the homeless.
The Catholic Archdiocese of Paris, in a joint statement with the religious organization Corref, said: "The church did not wait for the threat of requisition by the minister Madame Duflot to take initiatives”.
Someone also remarked that on November 14 of last year, when Caritas France presented its initiative to help the homeless in the winter, minister Duflot, although invited, did not attend.
And France's main national business daily, Les Echos, said that the Church is "by far the institution most committed to serving the homeless, also in terms of providing them with properties and accommodation." The same thing has been confirmed by Paris Prefecture (local authority).
Italian sociologist Massimo Introvigne, head of the Centre for Religious Freedom established by Italy's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, made some interesting observations:
The minister's threat is absurd, considering that the Catholic Church is the largest organization that provides homes for the homeless in France, and in this field its private charity is much more efficient than the state's public assistance. As the bishops have pointed out, the Church could do even more if it did not have to face bureaucratic obstacles that sometimes come from an entrenched anticlerical hostility prevalent in sectors of the French administration.
In short, for some governments all pretexts are good to attack the Church, and today targeting its real estate assets, with taxes and threats of requisitions, has become one of the main ways to attempt to silence it when its interventions are a problem.