My Spy in Paris . . . .

|

Had dinner at our place last night. He's an ex-pat Americain who married a French wife and has taught at a Parisian université for the past 30 years. FWIW, his pronouncements, in no particular order.

  • anti-Americanism has reached its peak and is on the wane.
  • in the past two years, the French have made a dramatic turn from hostility to Christianity to mere indifference to Christianity.
  • after initially disliking B16 (as did all the elites and for the same reasons), they now find themselves charmed by him and willing to give him a chance.
  • no one in France has any idea how many Muslims are there --keeping racial or ethnic stats is a violation of law because it violates "unit√©." Based on immigration numbers, people speculate there are between 300,000-half a million, of whom 1/3 are considered to be sympathetic or potentially sympathetic with extremists. My spy says Chirac and others fear to goad this group, because they believe it would be impossible to defend France from those numbers, and they very much remember the Paris metro bombings of 1995. Therefore --my spy has always maintained this-- the French politicians say one thing and do another with respect to the War on Terror.
  • The Archdiocese of Paris has 21 vocations/year he thinks? I was amazed they had even that many. Can that be right? He also says that French Catholics, though few, are very devout; that most priests believe mass attendance is higher than statistics suggest. The stats measure those attending their home parishes, but most French have another residence for a good part of the year; that if you attend Mass on Sunday, the parish will be full --but it will be the only Mass offered that day.