July 25, 2021

Robert Schuman on the road to beatification

BRUSSELS LETTER

Politicians rarely achieve beatification. In France, since Saint Louis, no one has been entitled to such an honor. Robert Schuman, one of the founding fathers of Europe, has yet taken a step in this direction. On June 19, Pope Francis issued a decree recognizing him “The heroic virtues of the serf of God”.

So here is the French statesman – several times deputy under the IIIe Republic, Minister and President of the Council under the IVe – elevated to the rank of “venerable”. Even if it is unlikely that he will one day achieve the status of “blessed” of the Catholic Church or of “saint” – for that, one must have worked miracles – Robert Schuman comes his way. once again in history.

The Church of course salutes his faith and his pious way of life: remained celibate all his life, this man, who had hesitated to become a priest, went to mass every day, including when he was a minister, and lived in a one could not be more frugal.

An embodiment of forgiveness

The Vatican has studied down to the smallest detail the 15,000 pages that the Diocese of Metz – where Robert Schuman had settled as a very young lawyer and where he ended his days – communicated to it, in support of his request for beatification. in 1990. And did not hold Robert Schuman at fault for the errors he may have made, such as that of voting full powers for Marshal Pétain in July 1940, before being arrested by the Gestapo a few months later. “He is also the first French head of government to have appointed a woman minister [dans le gouvernement Schuman de 1947-1948, Germaine Poinso-Chapuis est ministre de la santé] », notes Sébastien Maillard, director of the Jacques-Delors Institute.

Beyond these elements, “The Vatican rehabilitates political commitment”, judge this former journalist of The cross. In his own way, in these times of distrust, Pope Francis makes politics a path of holiness. No doubt the Church was not insensitive to the role of the young MP Schuman (elected on his lands in the Moselle in 1919) in the interwar period, to save the concordat and sanctify it. “The local law of Alsace and Moselle” . But even more, she wanted to recognize the way in which he worked for reconciliation between France and Germany, after the Second World War, and embodied forgiveness.

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