Report on the activities of the French-speaking Belgian Network PAVES (October 2009)

The main function of our small Belgian network consists in maintaining contact between its constituent groups, to help circulate information among themselves as well as with their sympathizers, and to give a voice to the Catholic 'reformers' via its Website and its quarterly 60 page magazine.

Over the past year, the main issues raised in our magazine covered both social and religious events : the economic crisis and the criticism of the power of money that characterizes it, the question of  interculturality (particularly with regard to Islam) and  the underlying question of secularity, peace (in particular the Israeli-Palestinian conflict),  womens’ rights, the encounter of Taizé in Brussels (Christmas 2008), the unrest caused by the Vatican at the beginning of this year and the manner in which the priest is perceived in the context of “the year of the priest”. The magazine has reserved a section for the Base Communities and the group of married priests, in which they publish their views and report on their own activities.

All these articles can also be viewed on the Website  which is updated monthly at the same time that a Newsletter is sent out to more than 1200 email addresses. Make your requests via the home page of the website.

In our capacity as “Réseau PAVÉS”, we collaborated with our Flemish colleagues in drafting and distributing a common statement in anticipation of the regional and European elections held on June 6th. In the context of a rather worrisome political situation in Belgium, we wanted to highlight the importance of solidarity in our society. The resulting article: “Kingdom of Belgium and Kingdom of God  was so well received that it was published on a full page in an important national daily newspaper. Since these elections, it must be recognized that a small provisional victory was achieved with respect to the regularization of illegal immigrants, an issue where several of our groups are engaged.

In the context of the media attention given to the positions of Benedict XVIth, we were invited to take part in the preparation of theTelevision program entitled “Question à la une” (May 20, 2009) of the public channel. Several members of our group, as well as one Base Community in Brussels took part in its creation.

With respect to the Base Communities, a very `participative' biblical weekend was organized in Brussels this spring, on the subject : “how to read the bible in community? “ with about forty people participating. An account is available on the website : . After this, five Belgian delegates took part in the European meeting of Base Communities in Vienna which gathered some 120 people.  Belgium presented the topic “Celebrating the Eucharist without a priest?“ based on a survey made in our communities. 

The Mouvement Chrétien pour la Paix remains very active within the national CNAPD: several members will take part in the Climate Conference in Copenhagen. They also initiated an original activity of “host tables” to provide scholarships for Palestinian students.
The group Hors-les-Murs (married priests) finally succeeded in presenting a difficult judicial brief aiming to obtain the right to a survivor’s pension for the widows of married priests (which does not exist at present because priests as single individuals, do not have to contribute to the widows’ pension fund…).

The Group SONALUX, established in the provinces of Namur and Luxembourg, continues to publish its own magazine. In it, note the remarkable value of the training sessions which they organize just about everywhere in their region, which is the principal objective of this small “resistance” network in the face of its very reactionary bishop.

Finally, you know that Louis Fèvre died on July 11th of this year. His health problems were common knowledge, but nobody expected to see him pass away so brutally. For PAVES, he was one of its mainstays that has gone: pacifier within the network, he was particularly concerned about the place of women; and he was our representative in our international contacts. Despite the sorrow, we do not doubt that Edith will continue to exercise these commitments.

Pierre Collet