MIVILUDES Publishes its 'Manual for Inquisitor's Use'

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On January 13th 2005 , 20 000 items of an 120 - page booklet have been issued by the MIVILUDES and should be dispatched in all administrative sectors of French Civil Service: Guideline against cult drifts for civil servantÂ?s use.

M.I.VI.LU.DE.S stands for Mission Interministérielle de VIgilance et LUtte contre les DErives Sectaires i.e. under the Prime Minister authority since November 2002, mission of experts meant to control and fight against cult drifts.

We cannot help comparing the present guideline with the Manual for Inquisitor’s use which Bernard Guy - a Dominican and an Inquisitor - wrote in the 14th century.

Thérèse Jamin – a history researcher – is quoted as writing : ‘the Manual [ for Inquisitor’s use] deals with different forms of heresy and teaches the art to identify them therefore to unmask and to condemn a heretic person’.

Hasn’t got the present guideline the same function? As a matter of fact, we discover that each civil servant will have to ‘point out and inform’.

Notwithstanding according to the MILIVUDES :’ the notion of pointing out doesn’t appear in legal and regulation texts’ (p.42), the guideline offers the means to flush out the guilty persons thanks to ‘ hints about how to point out and inform: a standard card’. (p.51).

Quoting again Thérèse Jamin: ‘ Tribunals of the Inquisition were designed by pope Innocent III and meant to investigate, flush out the heretics, charge and prosecute them [...]. The Inquisitor got about and searched out heretics’.

In its guideline, the MIVILUDES laments about the few present procedures at disposal: ‘ the fact remains that there is still but a small number of procedures: this could be explained among others by scarce claims and the lack of information that is pointed out ‘(p.24). This guideline ties up the Manual of Bernard Guy and gives ‘ tools for action. Twelve topics for thought to test a group there is concern over. (p.47) as for example: ‘ are they taught there things about how the world or the human being works in a very different way from what is usually taught?’ (p.47). This would be indeed a heresy!

The authors of the guideline (Manual?) also had to take up a challenge in giving the purpose and the limits of the subject : what is a cult? Quoting again Thérèse Jamin: ‘ to establish a person’s [guilt], the Inquisitor had to outmanoeuvre the skilfulness of the accused person. Quoting the MIVILUDES p.66: ‘ the lack of legal definition of cults makes it difficult for Civil Service’. As if - such as a heretic - a citizen hunt by the MIVILUDES were cunning enough to legally disappear.

The booklet does not give any new element on the present situation of the ‘ cultural creative people’ who represent indeed the sole target of the guideline.

The writers preferred to keep the good old recipes which after 30 years have now been creating the present climate of paranoia against some groups who are only wrong because they instil new ideas into the society. Emphasis is thus placed on rumours, lumped together notions, generalisations, evidence and prosecution.

Whilst during his New Year Greetings President Jacques Chirac wished ‘ a more democratic, voluntary and powerful Europe’ letting ‘ France to weigh more among the European Union member states’, this guideline is a step backwards in the field of freedom of conscience and calls for methods from another age.

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Vinel Paul
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