Laicism should mean neutrality, not exclusion says French archbishop

.- Reflecting on laicism and religion in France, Archbishop Andre Lacrampe of Besançon and president of the National Council for Solidarity, said laicism implies neutrality and not exclusion or ignorance by the State in regards to the Church.

“The profound meaning of laicism in France means that the State is neutral with respect to the Church, but its neutrality does not mean ignorance or exclusion, but rather non-interference in Church matters,” the archbishop said during a presentation at the 14th Conference on the Church’s Social Doctrine, held in Madrid and organized by the Bishops’ Conference of Spain.

During his conference, Archbishop Lacrampe analyzed “French laicism and the evolution of relations between France and the Church during the last 100 years.”

He distinguished between “laicism as a concrete socio-political regimen” and “laicism as a philosophical system closed to any spiritual dimension.”

The Conference, commemorating the 40th anniversary of the document Gaudium et spes of the Second Vatican Council, took place at a moment when laicist tendencies are gaining influence in Spain in an attempt to restrict the presence of the Church to the private sector.

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