French press review 17 May 2016

DR
7 min

There's an exclusive and wide-ranging interview with Pope Francis, the leader of the Roman Catholic Church in one paper today. On the possibility of women priests, Francis say the church may already have had them. He's looking into it. France faces a week of strikes as protests against labour law reform continue. The collapse of a cut-price dental chain leaves thousands of people unable to smile.

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Catholic daily La Croix carries an exclusive interview with the leader of the Roman Catholic Church, Pope Francis.

No subject is taboo. The pope answers tough questions on immigration, Islam, church and state, child abuse by some Catholic clergy, the possibility of the ordination of women.

The Catholic leader says Europe's Christian heritage leaves the continent with an obligation to serve others. We cannot hide behind quotas, barbed-wire fences and rejection.

On crimes against children committed by some priests, the Pope says there should be no statute of limitation. In other wrords, no time limit beyond which the alleged crime can not be tried. Francis feels the French authorities acted correctly in the most recent scandal in the French city of Lyon.

On the possibility of women priests, the Pope say the ancient church may already have had them. There's an ongoing debate about the status of women deacons in the early days of Catholicism, with some experts claiming that they were fully ordained to the same rights and duties as their male counterparts. A papal commission is going to consider the whole question. The pope says he is personally sure there is a need for more space and more responsibility for women in the modern church.

Hollande attacked by everyone!

The French president is attacked from all sides. That's the main headline in right-wing daily Le Figaro. We've heard it all before.

After seeing the Socialist majority in parliament torn asunder over labour law reform, President François Hollande now faces a week of what the French politely call "contestation sociale", strikes, in other words.

Yesterday it was long-distance truck drivers, tomorrow it's the turn of railworkers, with everybody and his dog called to join nationwide protests on Thursday. Even the police are planning to demonstrate against the fact that other demonstrators don't seem to like them very much.

Le Figaro's editorial says we are living in a state of siege.

Scandal of French abattoirs

Left-leaning Libération gives the front-page honours to cruelty in French abattoirs, saying the situation is frankly barbarous and that we are all responsible.

This follows shock revelations, accompanied by video evidence, by the association know as L214 of the systematic mistreatment of animals at three French sites. Now a former veterinary inspector has come out with his own terrible testimony about the treatment of beasts in the nation's meat factories.

He says the prime objective is not to avoid suffering for the animals but to ensure the safety of those who kill them. He eventually gave up his job because of the incessant horror of what he saw.

Libé says there are three crucial problems preventing any real advance in this area. There is the question of adequate training for abattoir employees, the supervision of what they actually do in practice and the difficulties posed by the rules surrounding ritual killing for religious reasons.

Those with no teeth find a voice

Communist L'Humanité does have something out of the ordinary on its front page . . . a story on the ill-fated cut-rate dental chain, Dentexia, which was launched in 2011, promising top-class dental care at affordable rates. The only requirement was that you had to pay in advance.

The company went bankrupt in March, leaving thousands of clients in serious difficulties.

One patient claims to have lost all dignity and to be unable to speak or smile. Another says he took out a 13,000-euro loan to pay for treatment, that the failed company still owes him 9,000-euros-worth of work, and that he now has no money, no teeth and the Dentexia centre is closed.

Another is still wearing a temporary denture fitted by the cut-price dentists, that device is broken, his gums are damaged and he can no longer eat. Not all the stories are quite so dramatic, but there are more than 2,200 members in a group of former clients of the company who are seeking compensation.

L'Huma's inside headline reads "The toothless show they are not voiceless." The paper says that 92 percent of French people want a limit imposed on the charges levied by dentists.

And 2,200 want their smiles back.

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