Tuesday, January 23, 2007

'Serve First Those Who Suffer Most'

Abbé Pierre (Henri Groues), the priest who was both a former member of the French resistance and a former Capuchin monk, who was also sometimes called the social conscience of France, died yesterday at 95 (see also here). He was for many, many years one of the most respected people in France, so much so that a few people, not liking the idea of a monk who was a media star, started calling him "Saint Superstar". His star dimmed somewhat, however, when one of his close friends turned out to deny the Holocaust in a book that Groues had given public support for; Groues, while insisting that he condemned any sort of Holocaust denial, also refused at first to come out and categorically withdraw his support, leading to considerable controversy and a blow to French enthusiasm for him, albeit a temporary one.

He was the founder of Emmaus International. You can read an interesting interview with him here.

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