- Jun 3, 2020
It is the one-year anniversary of the murder of Father Jacques Hamel outside of Rouen, France. The extraordinary response to Hamel’s martyrdom throughout France has been one of unity and an abiding belief that his sacrifice would yield a greater good for both the Church and the country.
“I pray that God support you so that your country, faithful to the rich diversity of its moral traditions and its spiritual heritage marked also by the Christian tradition, may always endeavor to build a more just and fraternal society,” Pope Francis wrote in a letter to newly elected French President Emanuel Macron.
Newly-elected President Emmanuel Macron won 3 out of 4 votes in the Catholic stronghold region of Brittany in France, making him in effect the champion of what some are calling “zombie Catholicism.” The dormant Catholics in France favored the religious yet pro separation of Church and State candidate.
The president of the French bishops’ conference has said that he welcomes the victory of Emmanuel Macron against populist right wing leader Marine Le Pen. Ahead of the elections the French Catholic Church did not take sides and encouraged discernment.
Despite a law prohibiting religious leaders from publicly discussing politics, Jewish, Protestant, and Muslim clerics have spoken up against populist-right wing Marie Le Pen and called citizens to cast their vote for the more level and centrist Emmanuel Macron in the next French election. Catholics in France have remained silent though, calling for tolerance and care for migrants.
After France held its primary round of elections which saw Alt-right Marie Le Pen and center-left Emmanuel Macron gather support, Cardinal Philippe Barbarin of Lyon warns voters of a “democracy gone mad” and what he views as “the twilight of its existing political system.”