Éditorial : «1905, l’esprit d’une loi» LE FIGARO, 21st November 2018. There are laws, but then there are their spirit and their history. The depth of centuries is invested in the law of 1905. To understand it, one must keep in mind the tension between the spiritual and the temporal powers — the clash between Christian France and Republican France. As a law of compromise born in pain and brutality, it allows believer and non-believer to live quietly together. It’s about freedom of conscience and freedom of worship. Since its inception, this law has travelled through time not without difficulty — especially on the question of the schools — but without ever re-awakening the violence of earlier struggles.
Et tu, Franciscus? Has the pope subscribed to Frau Merkel’s Rainbow Fallacy? This article by Yohann Rimokh in Le Figaro sheds some light on the origins and interpretation of French laïcité, taking in the pope’s interview of 16th May in the catholic daily, La Croix, and the fate of Europe in passing. In the view of The Europeans, the 1905 French law of secularism — laïcité — has been detached from its intentions and developed into a political therapy: one designed to suppress Christianity and irrigate Islam. Proof that the drafters of Constitutions rarely see further than their noses. The miracle of the British Constitution is that it is unwritten, unsanctified and therefore subject to alteration, with no special fuss, by simple Acts of Parliament. A sovereignty worth preserving. Continue reading “French Laïcité Overdone?”
Dark pages that seem to have been torn from some postmodernist catalogue of verities are nowadays thick in the political wind, as threatening as Hitchcock’s birds. But this leaf‡ from the Bishop of Rome is distinguished by its authenticity. Un pape pour tous? If so, his distance from the pre-November convictions — now unceremoniously dumped — of the French gauchiste state, must be thin indeed.
To be wilfully blind, even now, to the risks of attempted vivre-ensemble on which the pope is cheerfully insisting, would require the sort of political hubris of which only Frau Merkel is capable to be maintained indefinitely and throughout Europe. This clearly cannot happen. Europe will never again be able to relax as it did in the decades of its stable prosperity.
One is left with the distinct impression that the pontiff has aligned himself politically with Frau Merkel and the Archduke of Brussels, M. Jean-Claude Juncker. Mere mortals perhaps ought not to guess at the pope’s personal frame of reference: nevertheless, some of the furniture is clearly recognisable — South America and the Vatican. Neither of these bearings is particularly useful in making policy for Europe.
Has the Bishop of Rome joined the Coalition of the Blind, whose individual instincts are first and foremost self-referential? But let the pope opine: freedom of speech belongs to him too, even though in stopping little short of a public endorsement of the Merkel-Juncker line on immigration, he himself menaces that very same freedom.
‡The article, translated from the catholic daily, La Croix, is an extract from the Pope’s interview of 16th May.