Macron’s overtures to Catholic Church make waves in secular France

Source: Reuters

Reuters Staff

PARIS (Reuters) – Emmanuel Macron has blurred a line that has kept French government free of religious intervention for generations, critics said on Tuesday, after he called for stronger ties between the state and the Catholic Church.

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French President Emmanuel Macron attends a meeting of the Bishops’ Conference of France (CEF) at College des Bernardins in Paris, France, April 9, 2018.Ludovic Marin/Pool via Reuters

The issue is particularly sensitive in historically Catholic France, where matters of faith and state were separated by law in 1905 and which is now home to Europe’s largest Muslim and Jewish communities.

The president’s remark might have raised fewer eyebrows had he left it until later in a one-hour speech on Monday night to Church dignitaries in Paris, where he began by saying that just arranging such a gathering was an achievement in itself.

“If we’ve done so, it must be because somewhere we share the feeling that the link between Church and State has been damaged, that the time has come for us, both you and me, to mend it,” he said.

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