If you doubt who they are, just watch what happened to the maligned Chief Rabbi of France, Gilles Bernheim, now under siege.
In the debate on the imposition of a change of the legal definition of marriage in the French Republic to include counternatural unions, millions have marched in the largest protests seen in the country since the 1980s, the "Manif pour Tous" (a wordplay with the euphemistic name given by the governing Socialists to the legal aberration they propose, "le mariage pour tous", "marriage for all"). From traditional Catholics to concerned agnostics to the brave members of the largest Muslim and Jewish minorities in Western Europe, a large portion of French citizens have taken to the streets to make their voice heard.
A leading voice has been that of Chief Rabbi Bernheim. His words for the natural law definition of marriage were so profound Benedict XVI mentioned them in his last great Christmas Address to the Curia. As we reported in December, he said:
Bernheim had stepped over a red line. A Rabbi in the Great Synagogue of Paris since 1997, and the Chief Rabbi of France since 2008, he had stood in the way of the most formidable lobby in the world. He had to be taken down. His failings, which, though serious, had apparently not bothered anyone before, at least not enough to be revealed, suddenly came to the fore. As the Guardian (and several other sources) reported on Wednesday:
Bernheim's troubles began last month when a blogger accused him of copying a 1996 text by the late French post-modernist philosopher Jean-François Lyotard to use in his 2011 book Forty Jewish Meditations.
Bernheim responded by saying he was a victim of Lyotard's plagiarism of notes from lectures he had delivered in the 1980s when he was Jewish student chaplain in Paris. ...
Last week, another blogger accused Bernheim of plagiarism in a 2002 book and L'Express magazine revealed he had not earned the prestigious rank of philosophy professor that was often attached to his name.
Although his official biography did not mention him passing the agrégation, the highly selective examination needed to qualify as a professor, Bernheim never disputed the title when it appeared in newspaper articles and publicity for his books.
Bernheim has so far refused to resign: "It would be an act of pride and against the collegial structure that presides over decisions. I assume my functions fully." It is quite possible he is quite aware that those who wish to force him to quit have appeared from nowhere just to question his authority on the major issue being debated by French society. His failings in areas of his life did not, and could not, diminish the great truth that he has vigorously defended on the nature of men and women, marriage and family life.
P.S. Good for Bernheim. On a much less relevant level, we in Rorate also knew we had crossed a line when we posted Fr. Dariusz Oko's major article "With the Pope against the homoheresy" - it is astounding how much hostility, agitation, and false accusations have, as if by a magic coincidence, been raised against us since immediately after that article was posted. We were warned by close friends that there would be consequences if we posted it. Or maybe it has been a just a great coincidence, who knows?...
[UPDATE (1300 GMT):] The Chief Rabbi tendered his resignation today, in an afternoon meeting of the Central Israelite Consistory of France.