Website accessibility
Show or hide the menu bar
Main home
Section home
|
Content
Calendar
Links
|
Log in
|
Home

Concordat Watch - France - content area

Under-the-radar concordats

While attention is focussed on proposals to extend the Napoleonic concordat in Alsace-Moselle to the Muslims there and also to other areas of France, other concordats go unnoticed:  renewals of a concordat about French nuns in Rome and the 2008 concordat on higher education. These have gone under the radar because they aren't called "concordats"! Increasingly there are calls to add Islam to the four "recognised religions" subsidised by the state in Alsace-Moselle. The Church has long argued that concordats cease to be unfair if other major religions conclude (necessarily weaker) "agreements" with governments. In 2003, Archbishop Doré, former Archbishop of Strasburg, published a public letter advocating the inclusion of Islam as a publically-funded "recognised religion". In September 2009 this demand was made by the president of the French Council of Muslim Faith (CFCM).
 
Naturally, French Muslims have individual opinions on this matter, and the Muslim feminist, Fadela Amara, (see below) has been outspoken in defending laïcité (secularism). So too did the last President of France, Jacques Chirac, who proclaimed in a speech in 2003:
 
Secularism guarantees freedom of conscience. It protects the freedom
to believe or not to believe....It is the neutrality of the public arena which permits the various religions to coexist harmoniously. [...] This is why it is not negotiable!
 
However, his successor, President Nicolas Sarkozy, appears to be trying to do all he can to undermine it. (For a chronology in French of Sarkozy's moves against secularism, dating from the start of 2007, the year he was elected, see Nicolas Sarkozy président : plus près de toi Seigneur.)
 
Concordat on the church & convent of Trinity-of-the-Mountains in Rome (1999): text

This concordat claims that this church and convent in Rome need a pact between teh French Government and the Vatican to aid their "secular expression". It further claims that it was founded in 1828 to teach French and diffuse French culture and talks of helping French pilgrims today. It's not clear what any of this has to do with secularism, but the Vatican seems eager to keep this concordat as a precedent-setting agreement.

Steady erosion of church-state separation in France today

Napoleon's concordat is not a dead. It lives on the fringes, poised to be extended throughout France whenever the political conditions allow. The Church has been urging the extension of the Napoleonic Concordat beyond Alsace-Moselle, quietly concluding concordats under other names, gradually acquiring state subsidies and even offering pilgrimage tourism to particularly pious regions.

About the Trinity-of-the-Mountains concordats (1828, 1974, 1999, 2005)

There are five concordats in this strange series: the first made by a bloodthirsty Bourbon in 1828, and subsequent ones in 1974, 1999, 2005 and 2016. The follow-up pacts look like foot-in-the-door concordats. Although the Vatican website correctly identifies these as “Concordats”, they are officially titled “Endorsements” (Avenants), which hides their function from the French public.

Higher education concordat (2008): Text and commentary

This is a wedge concordat which masquerades as a necessary consequence of Europe's harmonising of the recognition of academic degrees. Without a vote in the French legislature, President Sarkozy gave state recognition to Catholic theology diplomas, which opened the door for Protestants to get this, too. The ultimate aim appears to be to secure state funding for both Catholic universities and the study of Catholic theology and to overcome opposition by extending this to other religions.


Go to Notanant menuWebsite accessibility

Access level: public

This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site you agree to our use of cookies: OK