A documentary in the intimacy of the “hooligan of God”



Leather jacket and long hair, father Guy Gilbert does not deviate from his traditional look in the documentary dedicated to him, Guy Gilbert, the hooligan of God, broadcast on Saturday, December 25 on France 2, at 12:20 pm A twenty-six minute dive with the 86-year-old priest, in the heart of the Alpes de Haute-Provence, near the Verdon gorges, in a wooden chalet overlooking the gilded brick building of the Falcon sheepfold. It was there that he bought and renovated, 47 years ago, a place intended to welcome the most disadvantaged and adolescents in difficulty. He took refuge there in March 2020 to retire in the middle of nature.

“To meet Christ among the poorest”

Throughout the documentary, Father Guy Gilbert retraces his journey with sobriety and sincerity, from his discovery of Mass and his vocation, at the age of 13, at the Algerian seminary, where he was ordained a priest, the July 3, 1965 in Algiers. “I already had a very strong spirit of protest”, recognize the one who ” do not accept “ the Church that he then sees and wishes for more “To meet Christ among the poorest”.

A meeting that took place shortly after his return to France, when he became a specialist educator for adolescents in difficulty, in Paris. I saw myself as country priest (…), I did not know the city, recognizes the one who grew up in Charente-Maritime, within a working-class family. Providence has shown me different paths. “

Straight talk

Paths of life which give him a certain notoriety as “priest of the thugs”. Known for his outspokenness, his strong positions and his invitations in the media, he also tells in this documentary the episode which pushed him to wear his famous leather jacket that he only leaves to put on his stole.

In the midst of underprivileged young people in the capital, in the early 1970s, he regularly attended police checks. One day, one of the young people gives him his jacket, while a policeman walks towards them. After a colorful verbal exchange, he is brought to the police station, where the commissioner recognizes that he is a man of the Church. The policeman changes his behavior and is obsequious, but Guy Gilbert loses his temper. ” I told them, “I have no right to any extra respect, I am a human person. Priest, yes, at the service of the poorest ”, he says. And I kept the jacket.

“Street youth taught me the meaning of Christmas”

During a walk in the middle of magnificent landscapes, he evokes with simplicity his relationship to spirituality, to God, to meditation. ” I believed that in order to pray you had to read, etc. No, prayer is silence, and knowing that God is present, that we can touch him “, He testifies, telling him to say” I love you Hundreds of times every day.

→ READ. Guy Gilbert: “It’s a violent word about my physique that pushed me to play sport all my life”

Even today, he welcomes several young people in difficulty within the Bergerie de Faucon, with whom he dines regularly. Asked about his understanding of the Nativity of Christ, he states that they are ” street youth »Who taught him« the meaning of christmas “. “It’s a wonderful celebration. Do we remember the poverty of Christ’s birth? Do we start from there to try to live a real Christmas? “ Like an invitation to return to the essentials of God’s message.

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