France: Follow up on Pax Christi France's annual conference "From citizenship to brotherhood"


Mgr. Stenger, President of the movement, welcomed the participants with the following words : “You  activists of  peace,  friends of  peace,  hunters of brotherhood, in our turbulent world, a stranger can suddenly appear. Here we are with two urgent needs, justice and humanity, which constitute principles of every social life.”

Yves Michaud, philosopher, initiator of the University of All Knowledge, radio commentator, lecturer, academic and author of forty five published books, spoke first, clarifying the terms citizenship and brotherhood.

“The confusion between these two words and their influence could result from a lack of philosophical and political thinking. It goes back to the definition of citizenship, adopted by the national motto of France in 1848 ". Yves Michaud stressed that citizenship is a politically term and fraternity belongs to family issues, knowing the plurality of families currently existing.

Citizenship goes hand in hand with nationality. A citizen is rooted in a society and complies with the common rules of the State. Historically the citizen is linked to its city or to a territory unlike a definition of ecclesial brotherhood or clan. It establishes the common rules of security and peace accepted.

Fraternity is a second personal relationship. Non-citizens will be the foreigners, sometimes the enemies, who do not enjoy the same rights specifically throughout the history: slaves, stags, nomads, street-traders, minorities, children, disables and until 1948 women were not recognised by their rights within the State.

To find the bases of the two words – Citizenship and Fraternity – it is important to not confuse but combine them. Significant is that the relation between the words citizenship and fraternity call for loyalty to the Republic, justice and solidarity in the fraternal shared world.

Alfonso Zardi, from Conseil de l’Europe, spoke aboutWhat does Europe mean for the 21st century, between responsibility and solidarity.”  On the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome, the speaker said that Europe is at the point of death; successive crises in Greece, Ukraine, Syria and Brexit have damaged the construction of Europe. He addresses these problems faced by the European unity. It is by reinforcing its human relationships that Europe will manage to find a way out of the on-going conflicts. Alfonso Zardi insisted that peace, environmental and economic problems are the future challenges. The speaker quoted pope Francis the as he visited the European Council and European parliament of Strasbourg: "Free shared hope and deep roots acts which have enabled this unique plan to be carried out in the world of the European healthy and human utopia which is foremost to their own advantage!"

Catherine  Wihtol  de Wenden  discusses “Europe in the view of the refugee crisis”. She is Research Director at the National Centre for Scientific Research, Doctor of political science at the Paris Institute of Political Studies, an international migrations specialist, her views are shared by OECD, UN, LICRA, and the European Council. She introduced the topic with statistics and news of primary interest. From 1990 to 1993, three European countries, Germany, Austria and Sweden namely, have been known for the number of refugees they host. At that moment, there was need to share asylum and the Dublin Agreements provided for reinforcing solidarity between North and South in Europe. However, the States’ never honoured their commitment. One used to struggle with the neighbour to solve a problem on national land. 

Germany maintained its immigration policy, estimated to more than 1.500.000 migrants from varied backgrounds, France  attained 86.000 asylum seekers,  unlike what was published. Each member State draws its inspiration from the Lisbon Treaty on solidarity.

International Law to movement is unfairly applied. 3,5 % of the world population are nomads, wars such as the one in Syria has displaced a large part of the Syrian population towards neighbour countries. Koffi Anan suggested at the UN to put in place a multilateral commission with regard to the economic stakes of these massive  movements.

Read more on the website of Pax Christi France.


Pax Christi France, annual meeting, citizenship, brotherhood