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Monday, June 17, 2013


Vatican City, 15 June 2013 (VIS) – The principle of secularism that governs relations between the French State and the various religious confessions “in itself shouldn't mean hostility to religious reality or the exclusion of religion from the social sphere and the debates that animate it.” Pope Francis made this statement in his address to members of the French Senate and National Assembly who had sought an audience with the Bishop of Rome.

The encounter afforded the pontiff the opportunity to emphasize the relations of trust that generally exist in that nation between those responsible for public life and the Catholic Church. “We can rejoice,” he affirmed, “in the fact that French society rediscovers proposals offered by the Church, among others, that offer a certain vision of persons and their dignity in view of the common good. The Church thus wishes to offer its own specific contribution on the profound questions that engage a more complete vision of persons and their destiny, of society and its destiny. This contribution is not only located within the anthropological or social sphere but also in the political, economic, and cultural spheres.”

The Pope reminded the French politicians that, as elected by a nation towards which the eyes of the world are often turned, they have the duty of contributing in an effective and constant manner to improving the lives of their citizens and of responding to their needs. Even if their task mainly unfolds in the legislative arena, it is necessary to inspire in the laws “a supplement, a spirit, I would say a soul, that doesn't only reflect the methods and ideas of the moment but that confers upon them the indispensable quality that elevates and ennobles the human person.”

Bidding the French parliamentarians farewell, Francis warmly encouraged them “to continue your mission, always looking for the good of the person and promoting fraternity in you beautiful country. May God bless you.”

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