French offer ‘charter’ upholding secularism

September 23, 2013

A spokesman for France’s bishops urged the government to ensure a new “charter of secularism” does not impede religious freedom.

Msgr. Bernard Podvin, spokesman for the French bishops’ conference, told the French Catholic daily La Croix that although Church officials understood why the government sent the document to schools Sept. 9, “secularism must not be hollow or limited to negating and hindering religions.”

Podvin said Catholic leaders understood that politicians feared people would use religion as an “identity emblem,” but added that religious faith formed part of the French values of “liberty, equality and fraternity.

If we don’t cultivate a true knowledge of religions, young people won’t be able to respect others in a just way.”