National Catholic Reporter

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Paris

Police evacuate Notre Dame Cathedral after reported suicide

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Visitors were evacuated from Notre Dame Cathedral after a man committed suicide in the 850-year-old church, police said.

News agencies reported that the man in his 70s walked up to the main altar and shot himself the afternoon of May 21 as tourists and worshippers were in the church.

France's BFMTV reported the man was writer and essayist Dominique Venner, who was identified as a conservative who was a staunch opponent of same-sex marriage. The news outlet said a suicide note was found next to his body.

'Listen to the streets' on marriage, says French bishops' spokesman

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A French bishops' spokesman urged politicians to "listen to the streets" after hundreds of thousands of people rallied against same-sex marriage.

"We're facing questions about society -- what the family is, what marriage is, and whether there's a difference between men and women," Msgr. Bernard Podvin, spokesman for the French bishops' conference, told France's Metro daily.

French bishops back plans for rally against same-sex marriage bill

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France's Catholic bishops are backing plans for a national demonstration against same-sex marriage legislation, which is expected to be approved by lawmakers later in January.

"I won't be participating -- not because I don't agree with the demonstration, but because I don't think I need to march when I have to make something known to the government and president," Cardinal Andre Vingt-Trois, president of the bishops' conference, told France's Le Figaro daily.

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July 18-31, 2014

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