French President Denies That Fathers Need to be Male

February 09, 2020

By taking up the unreal distinction between a “biological” father and a “symbolic” father, the French head of state calls into question paternity, natural order, and common sense.

Do words still have meaning? After hearing an account of the exchange between the president of Catholic Family Associations (Afc) and the head of state on January 26, 2020, one could have doubts.

Invited, as she put it, “in extremis,” three days before the anniversary of the ratification of the international convention on the rights of the child, Pascale Morinière agreed to go to the Elysée Palace, doubtful: “there’s something incoherent about being invited to such an event, when taking place in the same week is the Senate’s vote on article 1 of the new bioethics law which deliberately deprives children of fathers and allows medically assisted procreation (PMA) for single women and female couples,” said the president of the Afc.

The latter reports the “bizarre exchange” that unfolded during the evening with the head of state, in the presence of several witnesses. According to Emmanuel Macron, fatherhood would consist of two dimensions: the “genetic” father and the “symbolic” father. As for the “symbolic” father, according to the president, it would be a function that can be assumed by anyone.

The exchange then takes a surrealist turn: “your problem—the French president fearlessly asserts—is that you believe that a father is necessarily a male.” And he bases his opinion on the advice of “all of the psychoanalysts” consulted, according to whom there would be no “superimposition” between men and fathers. Understand it if you can.

“If we no longer have the same words, how can we belong to the same society?” reacts Pascale Morinière, interviewed by the weekly Famille Chrétienne.

A concern for semantics that does not seem to be shared either by the Minister of Health, Agnès Buzyn, who declared on September 24, 2019: “A father can be a woman, obviously. This may be a variance that is found elsewhere in the family. As we can see, it could be uncles,…a grandmother. I believe that children need love, everything shows us today that what counts is serenity around the child and all families can guarantee that.”

Ms. Buzyn may have forgotten her pediatrics and clinical psychology classes. The entire medical profession today recognizes that the paternal and maternal functions are not interchangeable. And that many disorders found in children of divorced couples can be explained in this way. As for psychoanalysts, there is more than in France where they still have credit with the government.

As the “family” no longer designates anything stable since multiple laws have deconstructed it, it should not be surprising that words no longer mean anything, any more than political speech, the city, civilization and the order of the common good.