Clémence Pourroy: making room for women

She initially refused to have her portrait painted. To let other women speak “more involved”, as she does in the podcast “Two feet in the stoup”, which she co-hosts since this year with Martin Monti-Lalaubie for the Center for Research and Social Action (Ceras), founded by the Jesuits. Then, Clémence Pourroy changed her mind. “Of course, my first fight in the Church and in life is ecologyexplains the one who is also an environmental municipal councilor in Poitiers. But I am involved in the Church, I am elected, I have two children, I am a woman and I have a vision of the place of women in the Church. It is important that this fight is not sectorized, but carried by all. »

Feminism, ecology and social justice: inseparable commitments in her eyes. The 30-year-old traces its genesis back to the 1990s and summers spent with the Scouts and Guides of France. After growing up in “a very bourgeois environment” – father lawyer, mother magistrate – in Caen (Normandy) and attended a school where girls and boys were separated in the playground, she landed in the group of a popular district and discovered, at the same time as nature, the mix gender and injustice.

“When, at eight years old, we see friends living crammed into a tiny apartment, it takes us to the guts. » Later, Clémence Pourroy will turn to the associative sector and, at 24, will join Europe Écologie-Les Verts, to fight against “the ecological and social crisis, of which women are the first victims”.

Awakening to spirituality in the heart of nature

Succeeding where the masses had apparently failed, the days in the forest and the evenings by the fire made his faith blossom. “To experience friendships in a magnificent natural place and, in the evening, to thank God, is a strong awakening to spirituality”, confides Clémence Pourroy. As an adult, she moved to Poitiers where she got involved locally. She became responsible for the parish community at a time when revelations of sexual violence committed by clerics exploded, particularly against nuns. A shock. Support groups and this conviction emerge: the abuses are partly linked to the invisibilization of women in the Church.

She then makes sure, with the two other leaders of her parish, that at each mass one woman reads and another distributes communion. She comes up against the resistance of certain priests who, she says, reject and sometimes even push aside the women who stand up to help them.

“I don’t even understand why the place of women in the Church is a subject of debate, she exasperates. We have empty churches, an institution that has been discredited because of the sexual abuse crisis it has covered up and which does not respond to the major issues of our time, which are the ecological crisis and collapse. And we take the lead because little girls go up to the altar! » During Holy Week, as a procession of boys, priests and bishops (“about fifteen guys”) walks up the central aisle of the church, she leaves mass, exasperated: “I no longer felt concerned. »

Youth and Social Catholics

No question, however, of moving away from the Church. But she wants to transform it by drawing her strength from the Gospel message of love and charity. “I have always seen my faith as a commitment, she says. We cannot believe in an incarnate Christ without trying to fight, like him, for justice. »

Confident in a feminism which, by example and by action, “will quietly snatch his rights”it distinguishes the institution to be reformed “of the men and women who compose it”, and pays tribute to the Catholics who support her or share her struggle: her husband, her priest friends and activists like Alix Bayle, from the collective All Apostles! or the theologian Anne Guillard.

It is this generation of social Catholics that she strives to make heard on feminism, ecology or even homophobia in her podcast devoted to “struggles of our time”. “Our word is stifled by traditionalists and reactionaries, but they may make noise, there are not that many of them”she assures.

“A little too Catholic in politics”where the left especially mistrusts the Church, and “far too political in Catholicism”divided on the question of the right of women to dispose of their bodies, which she defends without hesitation, Clémence Pourroy smiles at her feeling of never being completely in her place: “That must mean I’m actually in the right place. »


His inspiration. “Mustang”, by Deniz Gamze Ergüven, praise of the sorority

“In this 2015 film, five sisters struggle under the tyrannical rule of their father in a village in traditional Turkey. They try to trace their own path, all in a different way: one bends to tradition by marrying very young, another refuses the path presented to him. I was very marked by their solidarity, their energy and their mad freedom, I who grew up surrounded by three sisters, with whom I have a very strong, unwavering bond. Each in her own way has made a choice of independence that inspires and encourages me. And they support me in my commitments: we are united and proud of each other. This sisterhood is one of the reasons why the place of women in society and in the Church is so important to me. »

Clémence Pourroy: making room for women