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In Créteil, the new bishop Mgr Dominique Blanchet is keen to keep it simple



When he arrives in Créteil (Val-de-Marne) at the end of February to succeed Bishop Michel Santier, who resigned in June for health reasons, Bishop Dominique Blanchet will undoubtedly be a newcomer. This native of the west of France, almost 55 years old, who has just spent five years at the head of the diocese of Belfort-Montbéliard, will however find in this department in the south-east of Paris a “Fulcrum” and even one ” older sister “, Madeleine Delbrêl. Catholic mysticism left its mark on the working-class town of Ivry-sur-Seine in the second half of the 20th century with its active faith.

Another inspirational figure for this Centrale Paris graduate, ordained priest in 1999 for the diocese of Angers after having worked for three years in Burkina Faso: Father Antoine Chevrier, founder of Prado. Bishop Blanchet has been a member of this society of priests since 2005. “To welcome the Gospel, for Father Chevrier, is to accept both to be given to others and to God., he recalls. Those who teach it to us the best are the poorest. ” Sensitive to this issue of poverty and fragility since the beginning of his ministry, he was chaplain of the Faith and Light communities for more than ten years.

Fight against clericalism

Son of a worker father and a stay-at-home mother, this rather discreet man, who was nevertheless appointed vice-president of the Conference of Bishops of France (CEF) in 2019, recognizes that reconciling the authority conferred on him by his functions and the simplicity to which it aspires may be “Spiritual warfare”. It is particularly on the road to Compostela, where “All pilgrims are alike”, which he renews each summer with this simplicity. “The best way to fight against clericalism is not to resign from a service of authority, but to live it according to the Gospel”, he believes. This demand had led him to participate in a march against Islamophobia in November 2019, which he had been accused of..

In Belfort-Montbéliard – “Which is not a small diocese”, he would like to clarify, recalling that it covers 330,000 inhabitants who came to work in the automobile industry in particular – Bishop Blanchet discovered, among other things, an active ecumenism, lived mainly with well-rooted Protestant communities. In Créteil, he will have the task of continuing the efforts of Bishop Michel Santier on interreligious dialogue – the town is home to one of the most important Jewish communities in Ile-de-France, as well as many Muslims. It will be installed on Sunday February 28 at the cathedral of Créteil.

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