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  • 05 avril 2018 - 08:10
  • Raphaël Zbinden, cath.ch 3444 signes
Politique

Prières dans les parlements cantonaux: une tradition en sursis?

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Le Parlement vaudois https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Parlement_vaudois.jpgDans les parlements de 8 cantons suisses sur 26, les sessions commencent avec une bénédiction, une prière ou une sonnerie de cloches. Mais même en Suisse orientale, où ces traditions sont encore tenaces, souffle un vent de fronde.

Photo: le Parlement vaudois CC (by-sa) Zacharie Grossen

Par Raphaël Zbinden, cath.ch

Ils se lèvent, croisent les mains, se recueillent ou prient silencieusement. Il ne s’agit pas de fidèles dans une église, mais de parlementaires du canton d’Appenzell Rhodes-Extérieures. Avant chaque session, ils écoutent le président du Conseil cantonal demander le soutien du «Père tout-puissant».

Si la pratique ancestrale est respectée, dans ce demi-canton réformé de l’Extrême-Orient suisse, elle suscite néanmoins de plus en plus de froncements de sourcils. Le député appenzellois Niklaus Sturzenegger (PLR) a ainsi récemment présenté une motion pour que cette prière devienne silencieuse, rapporte le 25 mars 2018 l’hebdomadaire alémanique Ostschweiz am Sonntag. «Nous vivons dans une société éclairée où prévalent la liberté de conscience et de religion», a expliqué le parlementaire. Son collègue de parti Oliver Schmid le soutient dans sa démarche. «Je suis pour une séparation cohérente de l’Église et de l’État, affirme-t-il. La prière peut être supprimée. Après tout, il y a de plus en plus de personnes sans confession, même au parlement.»

Un héritage chrétien à préserver?

Ce vent de fronde n’est pas si nouveau, alors qu’une proposition de prière silencieuse avait déjà été faite en 2002. Mais elle avait été clairement rejetée. Pour les partisans de la tradition, la prière n’est pas seulement une question de religion, mais aussi d’attitude. «La prière est l’expression de la confiance en une puissance supérieure. J’entre alors en dialogue avec moi-même et ma conscience», souligne Marcel Hartmann (PDC, Herisau). Le député UDC Edgar Bischof relève que la prière appartient à la culture chrétienne-occidentale. Un aspect qui, selon lui, ne doit pas être «abandonné à la légère».

Appenzell Rhodes-Extérieures n’est pas le seul canton ayant gardé des rituels d’ouverture de sessions parlementaires. Même si ailleurs, ils ont été passablement «édulcorés». À Saint-Gall, une cloche de la cathédrale sonne une demi-heure avant le début de la réunion. Même son de cloche en Thurgovie. Le catholique Appenzell Rhodes-Intérieures a abandonné cloche et prière. Le président de chambre place tout de même encore les assises «sous la protection de Dieu tout-puissant».

Au-delà des cantons de Suisse orientale, des rituels similaires existent encore dans les cantons de Nidwald, de Schwyz, de Vaud (le président du Grand Conseil invoque la bénédiction de Dieu sur les travaux de l’assemblée) et de Genève (la prière a été remplacée depuis longtemps par une phrase d’exhortation prononcée avant chaque séance par le président du Grand Conseil).

La sécularisation en marche

Selon Christoph Frei, politologue à l’Université de Saint-Gall, de tels rituels d’ouverture sont des expressions traditionnelles de l’éthique politique. Pour le spécialiste, interrogé par Ostschweiz am Sonntag, il s’agit d’une façon de relier le pouvoir non seulement à la loi, mais aussi aux coutumes et à la morale. Il relève que ces rituels sont rattachés au degré de sécularisation d’une société. Ainsi, en Suisse, ces formules sont principalement restées en place dans les cantons ruraux et conservateurs, qu’ils soient catholiques ou protestants. Au niveau mondial, l’invocation de la bénédiction divine est très courante aux États-Unis, notamment dans les discours des présidents. Alors que les éléments religieux ont été totalement bannis de la vie publique française.

 

 

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