allons enfants

By Diogenes ( articles ) | May 07, 2007

Mark Steyn is glad the French said Non to Ségolène, but not overly optimistic about the longer term, providing an anecdote that serves as an incisively illuminating parable:

In my recent book, whose title escapes me, I cite one of those small anecdotes that seems almost too perfect a distillation of Continental politics. It was a news item from 2005: A fellow in Marseilles was charged with fraud because he lived with the dead body of his mother for five years in order to continue receiving her pension of 700 euros a month.

She was 94 when she croaked, so she'd presumably been enjoying the old government check for a good three decades or so, but her son figured he might as well keep the money rolling in until her second century and, with her corpse tucked away under a pile of rubbish in the living room, the female telephone voice he put on for the benefit of the social services office was apparently convincing enough. As the Reuters headline put it: "Frenchman Lived With Dead Mother To Keep Pension."

Think of France as that flat in Marseilles, and its economy as the dead mother, and the country's many state benefits as monsieur's deceased mom's benefits.

Your Uncle Di reads the story less as a metaphor of Continental politics than an allegory of post-Conciliar churchmanship. Think of the cadaver as the project of Renewal, the fake-female phone voice as the theological professoriat, and the fraud's long-suffering wife as --

Come to think of it, there was no missus in the picture, was there?

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  • Posted by: - Mar. 25, 2010 10:21 AM ET USA

    No surprise about Sister Keehan. She is representative of those religious who have become a law unto themselves, and undercutting the bishops is and always will be a perverse victory for them. They are feminists to the core.

  • Posted by: Frodo1945 - Mar. 24, 2010 6:32 PM ET USA

    He signed it behind closed doors, in darkness to the American people. He did not see the EO as something to be proud of, rather something to be ashamed of. I wonder if he had his fingers crossed behind his back when he signed it!!!