Paris, France, May 10, 2017 / 15:44 pm America/Denver (CNA).
Newly-elected President Emmanuel Macron, according to one of his biographers, embodies a new phenomenon in France known as “zombie Catholicism.”
Once among the most Catholic countries in the world, sometimes called the “eldest daughter of the Church,” France has seen serious decline in churchgoing numbers in modern times. While more than 50 percent of people still identify as Catholic, only 5 percent regularly attend Mass.
Still, in France’s recent presidential election, a latent Catholic identity in many of France’s citizens proved to be a powerful political tool.
Sociologists Emmanuel Todd and Hervé Le Bras were the first to label the phenomenon in their book “Le mystère français” in which they explain that “Catholicism seems to have attained a kind of life after death. But since it is a question of a this-worldly life, we will define it as ‘zombie Catholicism.’”
“Zombie Catholics” of France share certain characteristics, the sociologists noted. They typically come from regions of the country where resistance to the French Revolution was the strongest.