Philippe Jourdan: this is anger, not faith

Tuuli Koch
, reporter
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Estonian catholic bishop with French roots Philippe Jourdan says no-one has the right to kill innocent people in the name of faith – this is no religion but anger, boosted by lack of values.

- What has the world come to?

I must admit I have not had time to think too deeply about what happened (Postimees talked to Mr Jourdan on Saturday afternoon – T. K.). Rather, I have tried to contact family and relatives living in Paris.

- Is all okay with them?

All are in shock, but at the same time there’s a certain peace in the heart. I like it that so many people have spread the sentence «Pray for Paris» all over the world. This shows there is very much solidarity and people are helping each other. I have been praying for those who died, their families, but also for these executioners, the terrorists who have done this.

All this must make us think that we are raising young people whose heart is full of anger, who are not finding another way. We must do everything for people to have stronger principles. They say they do this for the sake of religion, but it is actually very unreligious.

- What is going on in the hearts of these terrorists?

What is going on in their hears is anger. They may yell Allahu Akbar, but rather this is pure hatred towards the West. An anger towards those who have more than has been given to them. This is not a religion, this is anger. This should also be the message to France, that there should be more solidarity, more unity. And it is especially important that the solidarity is not directed against anybody, but a positive unity.

I was just in Paris a week ago. The city was very beautiful and peaceful. It is very difficult for me to believe that the pictures shown on the news come from the very place that I just was to. I seems we need to be constantly alert. We can never assume that peace can be taken for granted. Peace must be fought for. Peace is not coming, it must be built. Anyway, I hope this will not be followed by even more anger.

- A stupid question, but... is it allowed to kill in the name of faith?  

No. If you kill an innocent person, not only the bible but a conscience even slightly enlightened will tell you that you are guilty. A believer who needs to give an account of his deeds before God realises that such acts can never take him to paradise, but rather to hell. Unbelievers and believers alike realise perfectly that such acts are not allowed. That no way God can like killing innocent people. What is going on in the heads of these people is illogical and unreligious. These people are schizophrenics, not believers.

- How should all Europe, how should the people go on? Do you see a major breaking?

Everyone needs definite values in his life, definite principles. Bad deeds show they lack elementary principles. There are many young people, even among our nation, who lack the values to live a worthy life. This day it seems that the world is very bad, very evil, but as the emotions calm down and we are able to think more calmly, we will see there is very much beauty in life.

Today, the people in Paris are in mourning of course, and live in fear. My brother lives in Paris, but not quite where the attacks took place. But he told me he was surprised that there was even more peace in people’s conversations and souls than he might have expected. Such severe events also create very beautiful, positive and heartfelt feeling. People communicate more and are ready to help one another more. If usually people live in egoism, in their own little world, then with such events the private worlds that we create for ourselves open up, and people are warmer. Sometimes, it takes just this kind of events for people to stop, to think about the others also. One must not sink into depression and despair, but in the difficult moment must find in himself the resources that he otherwise die not use much in life.

We are praying for everybody and thinking that it is not awful what happened but what may yet to happen in Paris or elsewhere. We must pray for the terrorism threat to diminish.

- You think it is possible?

I pray for that. With terrorism there are definite people and something can be done about them. I believe that nothing is inevitable. People can always change something. In our era, however, terrorism is a very big-big threat. This is not the issue of one event, but a kind of a war.

I was surprised by how much good there is in people’s hearts when things like this happen. This gives hope. I have received very many words of consolation by people in Estonia, and this gives warmth. That people are worried and offer support with an event which actually happened far from us and did not directly touch us. This means a lot.