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France: New Home to Gay Marriage and Modern Catholics

For the past five years, the Catholic presence has been expanding dramatically on the Internet, through a new generation of bloggers who are happy to lobby for the Pope and Christian values.

What’s the Latest Development?

The public debate over gay marriage in France is decided but a modern group of Catholics who still speak strongly in favor of traditional marriage has emerged as a modern sociological phenomenon. “Today, everyone asserts their identity, why shouldn’t we?” asks Maxence, an 18 year-old Catholic who represents a new generation of the faithful. “According to philosopher Marcel Gauchet, ‘It is a major historic change. This youth is both conservative and modern. It is like a whole new continent to be explored.'” The social lives of young French believers represent a counter movement to the praise generally heaped on the May ’68 generation in France.

What’s the Big Idea?

A generation of modern Catholics are employing social media to define their identity in a distinctly modern way as well as respond to controversy like that created by the 2009 pedophilia scandal. “This digital expansion is now reaching all-time highs with the debate on gay marriage. Father Pierre-Hervé Grosjean, a 35-year-old priest in the suburbs of Paris, has his own website and Twitter account, which has 15,000 followers. He insists that his Facebook page is ‘the front door of the presbytery.'” While older generations of Catholics were more likely to bury their feelings, a new sense of openness exists among modern believers. 

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