May 22nd, 2009
03:19 PM ET

Carla Bruni criticises Pope Benedict XVI

Henry Samuel
The Daily Telegraph

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/WORLD/europe/05/20/nicolas.sarkozy.carla.bruni/art.bruni.jpg]

France's First Lady said that the Church's teachings had left her feeling "profoundly secular".

She departed from her post's traditional religious neutrality to accuse the Pope of "damaging" countries in Africa with his stance on birth control.

The Italian-born former supermodel risked angering believers in France and beyond by declaring that the Pontiff's proclamations showed that the Church needed to "evolve".

In March, the Pope sparked controversy while on an Africa tour by saying that the AIDs pandemic which has crippled the continent "can't be resolved with the distribution of condoms; on the contrary, there is the risk of increasing the problem".

Mrs Bruni-Sarkozy said: "I was born Catholic, I was baptised, but in my life I feel profoundly secular.

"I find that the controversy coming from the Pope's message – albeit distorted by the media – is very damaging.

"In Africa it's often Church people who look after sick people. It's astonishing to see the difference between the theory and the reality.

"I think the Church should evolve on this issue. It presents the condom as a contraceptive which, incidentally, it forbids, although it is the only existing protection," she told Femme Actuelle, the women's magazine.


Filed under: 360° Radar • Africa • AIDS
soundoff (22 Responses)
  1. karen

    Look what happened to England and France.

    They lost their faith, lost their morals, lost their military, lost their culture.

    The People of France have lost their freedoms.

    thats why their always protesting. CNN is as blind as a bat.

    May 25, 2009 at 7:37 pm |
  2. Patricia

    Well done Carla

    May 25, 2009 at 4:00 pm |
  3. G. Boos

    I understand from Ms. Bruni's statement that she was baptized Catholic...However, I never realized that she considered herself as an exemplar of Catholicism or one theologically capable of critiqueing His Holiness. I'm sure her comments are most important only to herself anyway. Many prayers are with her....probably from His Holiness,too.

    May 23, 2009 at 5:44 pm |
  4. Sehz

    Go YOU Carla!!!!

    In answer to M. above, would you rather profess a pragmatic solution, which has more chances of being adopted like protection, or would you rather continue to preach the doctrine of abstinence, which is not being endorsed by hardly any in all actuality.

    It's about looking at the reality of the situation and calling things the way they ARE – and NOT calling things the way the Church thinks it SHOULD be !!!

    May 23, 2009 at 11:00 am |
  5. danadk

    She expressed her opinion, which she is entitled to. And to "M"...that is merely dogma. What happened to Catholics and Christians belief in thou shalt not judge...even if the other is judging you, or something you believe. I'm tired of fellow Christians and Catholics alike referring to others as "good" Christians, or "good" Catholics. That would imply "bad" Christians and "bad" Catholics. Who are we to judge ones faith. Seriously now....is that really necesarry? Defending your faith is not the same as being faithful. Defending your faith is merely being defensive. Did you ever hear Mother Theresa call others wrong? Ever?

    May 23, 2009 at 4:25 am |
  6. christiaank

    Mrs Bruni-Sarkozy is correct in her observation of the contrast between the true "Christian" workers in Africa and the religious hypocrisy of the Pope and his Catholic church. Catholics are not Christians nor are they followers of Christ – not the true Christ. True Christians live above and outside of religious laws- religion is the killer of truth and love found in Christ. So she is so right to criticize. And where I may not agree with all she believes and I really don't know to be honest, it is high time that the Pope and his global cult is not lumped together with true Christians who are absoutely against RELIGION in any form!!!

    May 22, 2009 at 10:45 pm |
  7. Cate Malone, Omaha, NE

    I wish more world leaders had her guts. The pope was highly irresponsible to say such a thing. Yet another case of 17th century religion interfering with 21st century science to disastrous results. I live for the day when people stop believing in fairy tales.

    May 22, 2009 at 10:39 pm |
  8. e.

    So why has this pope and former popes supported wars and go out and bless the troops? Priests were blessing troops in the US and the priests in Germany were blessing their troops....then they went out and killed each other. Makes good sense.

    I like the quote: 'If you are a true catholic, you live by the laws and teachings of the church' ...dont you mean laws and teaching of the Bible?

    May 22, 2009 at 10:01 pm |
  9. Michael

    Carla Bruni-Sarkozy is so right to bring this anachronism of the Church into the spotlight. It is all about the doctrine on contraception. Why should the Catholic Church promote procreation at any cost? Especially in Africa where famine is prevalent, caused by drought, civil war, and poverty. Does every child born have a right to a decent life or is survival enough? And what is a sustainable population on this earth considering our inability to produce enough food, enough clean water for all? Abstinence is the Church's contraceptive method – 100% effective (except in the one famous case of a certain Mary), but otherwise a flawed one for God's children succumbing to the very biological urge to procreate. Condoms prevent many things. They even save lives.

    May 22, 2009 at 9:55 pm |
  10. Dahdi

    You only get to CRITICIZE the Pope if you know how to spell! And in a headline yet! Bwa-ha-ha!

    May 22, 2009 at 9:47 pm |
  11. jws

    It is looking on others countries from american point of view.
    The reality in Africa or Asia is very different from US and applying american orthodox thinking does not help.
    What is more important, prevention of health or orthodox application of "catholic" doctrin? I am a catholic but possibility of prevention of different health problems is for me more impotrant that application of standards which have not real place in the countries we should talk about. It is not about US.
    Just a thought

    May 22, 2009 at 9:43 pm |
  12. Gerald Spencer

    People do not want abortions, yet they do not wish to stop unwanted pregnancies which either result in abortions or a child that cannot be supported. This makes no sense. People do not want the spread of HIV yet they do not wish to help stop that spread. This makes no sense.
    There is nothing but nothing about condoms in the message of Jesus of Nazareth.
    This birth control nonsense is as useful as celibacy in the priesthood. Paul/Saul and contemporaries thought the end of the world was upon them, therefore they said, "well, let us not take wives and let us not have children since the world is ending; let us lead good lives so the Almighty takes us when he comes back." Well, He didn't come back during Paul/Saul's life nor any of the few people Jesus specifically said will not see death before his second coming.
    The Roman Catholic Church will regain many members if they stop the condom thing and the celibacy thing, people will think no more of the change being wrong as "eating meat on Fridays."

    May 22, 2009 at 8:47 pm |
  13. Jerri Courtney, Defiance, Ohio

    I don't believe Carla Bruni was being secular in her opinion, but perhaps by her compassion for the sick in Africa was showing consistency with the faith in which she was baptized, a faith which above all should be about following the message of Jesus, a message of compassion and healing.

    When the leadership of the Catholic Church becomes so focused on the letter of its own law that it loses sight of compassion and common sense, it becomes much like the Pharisees who condemned Jesus for healing on the Sabbath.

    When the Pope condemns the use of condoms in Africa, I feel he is becoming an obstacle to healing rather than an instrument of Christ's love.

    This is not the church in which I was baptized and raised.

    May 22, 2009 at 8:46 pm |
  14. Constance

    M who posted on May 22nd critizing France's first lady, does not live in the REAL world.. "m's" statement is unbelievable, what century does "m" live in????

    May 22, 2009 at 8:13 pm |
  15. Jim

    Considering the " CHURCH" is in Violaton of the Lords words on several areas- " WOE unto you who are rich, You have recieved your consolation."
    "Why do you put the traditions of men over the COMMANDMENTS of God"
    "Beware of False Prophets"- "You shall know them by their fruits"
    Priests committing Abominations,Pastors Fleecing their flocks while teaching lies & refusing to call Sin Sin . Judgement begins at the HOUSE of the LORD. REPENT.

    May 22, 2009 at 6:51 pm |
  16. Mike Rayl

    The normal urges of animal beings and the natural appetites and impulses of the physical nature are not in conflict with even the highest spiritual attainment except in the minds of ignorant, mistaught, or unfortunately overconscientious persons. page 383 The Urantia Book

    According to this, I surmise, a lot of the things, the church, and many people consider sinful, are only human nature, and not sinful...

    May 22, 2009 at 6:38 pm |
  17. Dave

    Good for her.

    May 22, 2009 at 5:28 pm |
  18. M.

    Carla is wrong and she has lost her faith. She is not a true catholic, and she should be ashamed for crriticzing the Pope. Someday she will have to answer to God for her beliefs. The Church has its teachings, and those teachings will never change. It would be hipocritical if it changed, just so people could have more sexual pleasure outside of marriage. The main purpose of marriage has always been to have families. If the couple does not want any more children, then they should abstain from the sexual pleasure during those days that a woman can conceive. After all humans should not act as animals do, we have the right to abstain, and also to say no. Sex should not be the number one thing in marriage. Sex should never be more important than life itself. Otherwise, the statement would be that Sex takes precidence over life. If you are a true catholic, you live by the laws and teachings of the church and there is no grey area. Unfortunately we have far too many "cafeteria" catholics who want to make up their own rules, and they try to make themselves believe that the church is old fashioned, but the church is not old fashioned when it comes to doctrine.

    May 22, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  19. Elaine

    I'm an african. I live in an african country. Carla Bruni, you will probably never come to africa. If you do/have, you will stay in a luxury hotel surrounded by security guards. When will people like you understand that the problems of Africa are NOT the problems of the rest of the world? The same strategies don't work in every country. For crying out loud, what works in Egypt won't necessarily work in Zimbabwe. And to come to my point, condoms do not solve the problem here, they DO make things worse in terms of behaviours and attitudes towards the disease. Don't, don't, don't talk about things you really don't know about. Don't follow the crowd. You're a first lady. It just makes you look dumb.

    May 22, 2009 at 4:37 pm |
  20. Isabel

    I agree completely with the First Lady Carla Bruni.

    I was born Catholic, I grew up and studied in Catholic schools and universities, but often the Pope Benedict XVI is outside of reality.

    My father believed in God, he was Benevolent, he had the correct attitude of life, but he stopped following the religion just because of these things.

    I see that I'm going down this path, despite having been created within the Desires of the Catholic Church.

    It is difficult to follow a religion that preacher one thing and shows opposing attitudes.

    May 22, 2009 at 4:31 pm |
  21. Craig Sumpter

    Carla knows her stuff!!

    May 22, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  22. Mike in NYC

    "...but in my life I feel profoundly secular."

    Not surprising considering how many men she claims to have slept with.

    She once left a father to hook up with his son. A class act, she is.

    May 22, 2009 at 3:49 pm |