Tag Archives: France

History of a property

One of the best examples of how ridiculous government paperwork can be is illustrated by a recent case in Louisiana. A company president was trying to buy some land in Louisiana for a plant expansion, and he wanted to finance this new facility with a government loan. 

His lawyer filled out all the necessary forms, including the abstract—tracing the title to the land back to 1803. The government reviewed his application and abstract and sent the following reply: 

‘We received today your letter enclosing application for your client supported by abstract of title. We have observed, however, that you have not traced the title previous to 1803, and before final approval, it will be necessary that the title be traced previous to that year. Yours truly.’ 

As a result, the lawyer sent the following letter to the government: 

‘Gentlemen, your letter regarding title received. I note you wish title to be claimed back further than I have done it. 

‘I was unaware that any educated man failed to know that Louisiana was purchased by the United States from France in 1803. The title of the land was acquired by France by right of conquest of Spain. The land came into possession of Spain in 1492 by right of discovery by a Spanish-Portugese sailor named Christopher Columbus, who had been granted the privilege of seeking a new route to India by Queen Isabella. 

‘The good queen, being a pious woman and careful about title, took the precaution of securing the blessing of the Pope of Rome upon Columbus’ voyage before she sold her jewels to help him. 

‘Now the Pope, as you know, is the emissary of Jesus Christ, who is the Son of God. And God made the world. Therefore, I believe it is safe to assume that He also made that part of the United States called Louisiana, and I now hope you’re satisfied.’ 

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Filed under The Ramblings of a Reformed Ecclesiastic

First they came for the Scientologists…

Damian Thompson – The Telegraph

October 18th, 2013
The Church of Scientology is furious. France’s judges have upheld its conviction for “organised fraud”, which includes charging followers thousands of euros for an “electrometer” to measure mental energy. “A heresy trial!” yells the Church, promising to fight this “affront to religious liberty” in the European Court of Human Rights.
I’m trying to think of the last time the Scientologists were this angry. Probably in 2005, when South Park aired an episode in which Stan joins the outfit and learns that 75 million years ago an evil intergalactic emperor called Xenu “rounded up countless aliens from different planets, froze them… and dumped them into the volcanoes of Hawaii”. The wickedly funny animation carried the caption: “This is what Scientologists actually believe.” Which was true.
Scientology became a laughing stock: a cartoon had accomplished more in 25 minutes than anti-cult campaigners had in decades. And now France labels it “organised fraud”. If you were to attach any of the Church’s leaders to an E-meter – an electronic device that checks “spiritual impediments” – I reckon the needle would be flickering wildly.
You’re probably thinking: well, cry me a river. They don’t like it up ’em. It’s hard to feel sorry for followers of L Ron Hubbard, particularly now that any search engine can uncover terrifying allegations against rogue Scientologists.
But – and I’m saying this through gritted teeth – the Church has a point. Not necessarily about this particular French case, but about a general threat to religious liberty in Europe.
The French government regards Scientology as a “cult” rather than a “religion”. That may seem like a statement of the obvious – but as soon as you start to nail down the differences between cults, sects and religions you run into trouble.
The EU says it guarantees religious freedom. But here’s the crucial thing: in some countries that applies only to groups that governments register as a religion. Generally speaking, the further east and south you  go, the more arbitrary the cult/sect/religion definition. If you’re a registered Baptist in Russia, then you’re fine; if you’re unregistered, you could be breaking the law by hosting prayers in your house.
I once went to a conference in Saxony at which a government minister lectured us on the difference between real and fake religions. “Lack of sense of humour” was a clue to fakery, he told us – a tricky rule of thumb to employ in Germany, I would have thought.
This isn’t to deny the existence of cults and cult-like behaviour: we’re perfectly entitled to apply the word to religious bullying. But “cult” isn’t a scientific term, any more than “church” is. You can find creepy sectarian movements in suburban parishes, inner-city mosques and internet start-ups. Britain’s most impartial cult-monitoring body, Inform at the LSE, receives troubling inquiries from the families of newly converted Christians.
Inform takes the line that all religious groups need to obey the same laws as civil bodies. That’s a sensible approach, rooted in English and American concepts of freedom.
The danger is that we’re moving towards a European model in which faith needs to be rubber-stamped by civil servants and a “cult” is any religious group the government dislikes.
We may smile at the fury of the Scientologists, in their comic-opera uniforms, at the leaking of the story of Xenu. But it’s worth remembering, next time you visit a country church, that it wouldn’t be there if genuine evil emperors hadn’t failed to crush a supposedly dangerous cult founded by Jesus of Nazareth.

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Pope Francis ‘Phones Gay Catholic To Reassure Him About Sexuality’

Charlotte MeredithThe Huffington Post UK Sep 06, 2013

Pope Francis has reportedly called a young gay Catholic man in France to reassure him about his sexuality.

Christophe Trutino had written to the Pope to emotionally explain his inner turmoil in reconciling his sexuality with his faith, explaining how he was terrified he was going to hell for being gay, local media reported.

The 25-year-old sales assistant from Toulouse said that due to the ongoing row over France’s battle over same-sex marriage, he was struggling to stay a believer in the Catholic faith.

pope francis

The Pope is said to have called the man to reassure him about his sexuality

Trutino said he was left stunned when he then received a phone call from the head of the Catholic Church himself.

“Your homosexuality. It doesn’t matter”, the Pope reportedly told him, according to the local newspaper La Dépêche du Midi.

“It was he who started the conversation,” Trutino said, according to a translation on The Local.

“He said ‘Christopher? It’s Pope Francis’. I was unsettled, of course. I asked, ” Really? ” He replied : “Yes.”

“I received the letter that you sent me. You need to remain courageous and continue to believe and pray and stay good,” the Pope told him during the nine-minute conversation in Spanish.

“Your homosexuality. It doesn’t matter. One way or another , we are all children of God. This is why we must continue to be good,” the Pope told him.

There has been a rise in French homophobia following a spike in anti-gay marriage protestors.

Trutino said the phone call ended with the Pope asking him to pray for him and that he would do the same in return.

“When I hung up the phone, I was completely filled with emotion,” he told local paper Midi Libre.

“I was shaking. At the same time, the conversation was very relaxed. It was like a call from a friend, nice, very human.”

The Vatican has not confirmed yet whether the phone call took place.

While Francis’ predecessor Benedict XVI was an extreme opponent of gay rights – once describing homosexuality as a “defection of human nature” – the most recent Pope has expressed his tolerance towards homosexuality.

During his recent visit to Brazil he said: “If a person is gay and seeks God and has good will, who am I to judge?”

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September 7, 2013 · 11:41