French President Emmanuel Macron wants Catholics in his country to be more involved in public life. Samuel Gregg, Acton’s director of research, wonders if France’s secular settlement could be under threat:
For a few days this month, France experienced a relapse into the type of anti-Catholic rhetoric that, 100 years ago, would have thrilled half the country and infuriated everyone else.
Laurence Rossignol, the former Socialist government minister, denounced Catholics for trying to restrict access to IVF and abortion, and seeking to stop euthanasia’s legalisation. Her comments paled, however, in comparison to the hard Left’s former presidential candidate, Jean-Luc Mélenchon. He accused President Emmanuel Macron of behaving like a “little priest”. Across the country, Twitter erupted with denunciations of any rapprochement between L’État et L’Église.
The spark for these charged remarks was Macron’s decision to deliver a speech to French Catholic bishops and more than 400 Catholic leaders at the Collège des Bernardins, the centre of Catholic intellectual life in Paris.