French Government Squelches Free Speech And Exercise Of Religion In One Blow

A French priest will go to court to defend himself from accusations 'homophobia.'

Matthieu Raffray

Father Matthieu Raffray, a well-known French priest and member of the Institute of the Good Shepherd, published on social media on March 15 an Instagram video about "temptations" in which he mentioned, among other things, the Church's teaching that homosexual acts are sinful. 

"We all have weaknesses, those who are greedy, those who have a bad temper, those who have homosexual tendencies. All the sins, all the vices that can exist in humanity and against which we can fight," Raffray said. The 44-year-old is also a mathematician. 

Raffray's video prompted a critical response from Aurore Bergé, the French minister Fight against discrimination. Without qualification, the minister said that Raffray's statement is "intolerable" and reported the priest to the police. The French government is taking legal action against the priest, which left-wing commenters have dubbed a leader of a resurgence of Catholic right-wing sentiment.

Bergé stated on X that she had “asked the Interministerial Delegation for Combating Racism, Antisemitism and Anti-LGBT Hatred (DILCRAH) to report the matter to the public prosecutor on the basis of article 40” of the Code of Criminal Procedure. The DILCRAH took note of the minister’s message and confirmed that it had “notified the public prosecutor of the homophobic comments made by Mr. Raffray on his social networks.” In its message, the delegation added: “To speak of homosexuality as a weakness is shameful.”

The minister considers that Raffray's comments indirectly promote “conversion therapies,” which have been banned in France since 2022. In January, playing on words, the priest stated on his Twitter account that “every spiritual retreat is a conversion therapy,” but his comments unleashed a wave of hostile comments from LGBT associations.

While observers believe that a trial against Raffray has little chance of success, the situation illustrates the French government's growing hostility toward Catholics and the Catholic Church. 

Raffray told (March 21) that "I have always been very careful not to hurt or offend people, especially in this very delicate area." He added, "All I have done is express Catholic doctrine," and "it is not me who is accused, but the teaching of the Church." Raffray is the author of the new book Le plus grand des combats,


Topic tags:
France anti-Catholicism Catholicism EU