Is Macron jeopardising French secularism?

In a speech to the French Bishops' Conference on Monday French President Macron criticised the damaged relationship between the Church and the state in France, calling for greater political engagement on the part of Catholics. While some media see his words as having a refreshing impact on the political debate, others see French secularism in danger.

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La Libre Belgique (BE) /

Spirituality good for political debate

La Libre Belgique praises Macron for his speech before the French Bishops' Conference:

“Whereas many leading politicians reduce their ideas to a few tweets, Emmanuel Macron seeks to enrich reflection on how to manage society by citing ideas that come from the people, and the Catholics in particular. ... And that is necessary. Confronted with relativism and nihilism, he calls on every individual to quench their thirst for the absolute. This need for spirituality, this call for more soul, this invitation for a political engagement based on the values of humanity and solidarity is a moment that must be welcomed, a salutary pause, much needed in the maelstrom of a political debate too often marked by materialism.”

Mediapart (FR) /

President playing with fire

Macron is endangering the fundamental separation of church and state, left-wing municipal councillor Samy Johsua counters in Mediapart:

“Calling this separation into question in this way represents a mortal danger for civil peace that will take us back a hundred years. ... Capitalism is a truly immoral system. And so is neo-liberalism, based as it is on the competition of all against all. Balancing out such amoralism with a little holy water is what many reactionaries in the US rely on, for example. And it's what many on the right sorely miss in France because of our history. But calling the [secularism] law of 1905 into question to achieve such a balance would be to ignite a fire of unpredictable dimensions.”