JLA does a lot on the Sant'Egidio gathering cited here earlier, but -- especially given the recent screaming on this side of the pond -- the following vignette stood out:
One of the featured speakers during the Sunday evening opening session, held in front of an overflow crowd in Lyon's Maurice Ravel auditorium, was French Holocaust survivor Simone Veil.
In addition to being a noted writer and lecturer, Veil, who is Jewish, was also Minister of Health from 1974 to 1979, and the primary sponsor of a 1975 law that legalized abortion in France. She is one of the most prominent "pro-choice" voices in the country.
In the United States, that background might have made it difficult for a Catholic organization to invite her to speak at an event where six cardinals were present. Organizers told me, however, that the issue never came up here.
In part, this may reflect differing American and European Catholic sensibilities. American Catholic leaders often see giving pro-choice politicians a platform as a sort of tacit tolerance for their position, while Europeans sometimes see it as a way of keeping lines of communication open.
So are the Europeans heretical? Should everyone who expressed no qualms about the speaker be fired? By the absolutist American standard, they should.... Yet it's further proof that conservative Americans don't form the only valid caucus of Catholic opinion, however verbose their claims to monopoly.
Thank God for universality.