Bernadette de Lourdes ineligible for the culture pass for non-compliance with the secularism charter?

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The show “Bernadette de Lourdes”, which retraces the story of Bernadette Soubirous using authentic documents, was refused integration into the collective offer of the “culture pass” offered to schools in mid-October. According to the commission in charge of the matter, respect for the charter of secularism would raise questions, among other things.

Amassive blow for the teams of the show “Bernadette de Lourdes ”. On October 13, Roberto Ciurleo, co-producer of this highly successful musical, was refused the inclusion of his show in the “Pass Culture” on the grounds that it would not respect the charter of secularism. The culture pass, the result of a partnership between the Ministries of Culture and National Education, is available in two offers: one individual, intended for young people aged 15 to 18, the other collective, dedicated to establishments schools who can, through their teachers, enroll their students in group cultural activities. It is valid for both public and private establishments under contract.

In this case, it is the collective part of this offer that poses a problem. At the beginning of April, the Bernadette de Lourdes show teams sent a file to the national education digital platform “ADAGE”, which allows schools to register their classes for so-called “EAC” projects (artistic and cultural education). , in order to make the show eligible for the offer. Two conditions had to be met: have educational value, and respect the charter of secularism.

But by a decision of October 13, the culture pass referencing commission considered that “the structure does not offer an EAC approach in accordance with the three pillars”, which are the acquisition of knowledge, artistic and scientific practice, and the meeting with the works, the artists and other professionals. However, Roberto Ciuerleo recalls, the production sets up discussion times (called “masterclasses”) between the troupe and the students on the different professions brought together by the musical.

The charter of secularism sows trouble

The following formula is concise: “respect for the charter (sic) of secularism also raises questions”. No precise reason makes it possible to determine precisely how the charter of secularism was not respected. “It is quite clear that the refusal was made only by reading the title,” believes the producer, deeply indignant. “The show in no way infringes on secularism, since it is above all a page in the history of France that we are telling,” he insists before recalling that the script of the comedy musical is based on period reports. “These are the written traces left by the clerk who attended Bernadette’s interrogations and who went to the grotto of Lourdes to write down what he saw during the apparitions, as well as notes from the imperial prosecutor. The point of view adopted is much more that of the State than of the Church. » An unfavorable opinion which is all the more difficult to pass as many places of worship, of all religions, are included in the collective offer of the culture pass. Contacted by Aleteia, the Academic Delegation for Artistic Education and Cultural Action of Versailles (DAAC) refused to comment further on the subject. She believes that “the commission has made its decision and the refusal is clear, we are not intended to comment on it. »

A story that speaks to everyone

The musical has had more than 200,000 spectators since its launch in 2019. While it was initially performed in Lourdes, its success encouraged the producers to offer it in Paris, Lille, Lyon, Strasbourg and many large cities in France. where it always attracts a full house. A triumph carried by the figure of Bernadette Soubirous, a little saint “who speaks a lot to the young people of our time”, believes Roberto Ciurleo. “She suffered mockery, harassment, defamation, she was ostracized from society. These are things that young people are sensitive to today, even when they are not believers. People from all walks of life come to see Bernadette of Lourdes because she is, precisely, universal. » It remains to be seen whether this argument will convince the ADAGE commission. The production of the show has already filed an appeal.

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