2015-05-05-Niles-c

French Court: Take Down Pope Statue

by Christine Niles  |  published on May 5, 2015

A court in France is ruling that a statue of Pope Saint John Paul the Second must be removed from a town square.

Ploërmel, situated in the northeastern region of Brittany, erected a statue of the pontiff in 2006. It was a creation of one of the town’s residents. According to the court, “The statue … is surrounded by an arch topped with a cross, the symbol of the Christian religion, which, by its lay-out and dimensions, presents a conspicuously religious character.”

For these reasons, the court ruled the statue violates the law of separation of Church and State, in force in the country since 1905, when the Third Republic passed a law imposing state secularism. The law ended up seizing Church property for public use and removing Catholic influence from the education system. Critics of the law claim it was little more than thinly veiled anti-clericalism, and instead of promoting religious freedom, hampers it.

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