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Catholicism, Politics and Society in Twentieth-Century France$
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Kay Chadwick

Print publication date: 2000

Print ISBN-13: 9780853239741

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.5949/UPO9781846312779

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Secularisation and the (re)formulation of French Catholic identity

Secularisation and the (re)formulation of French Catholic identity

(p.260) 12 Secularisation and the (re)formulation of French Catholic identity
Catholicism, Politics and Society in Twentieth-Century France

Colin Roberts

Liverpool University Press

This chapter examines the influence of secularisation on the (re)formulation of Catholic identity in twentieth-century France. More specifically, it looks at the ‘blurring’ of Catholic identity at the end of the century, how Catholicism ceased to represent a national focus, and how secularism has created a climate in which multiple faiths – Christian and non-Christian – may function. The chapter presents a case study of religious belief and practice in the Breton parish of Limerzel in the early 1930s and the 1980s to highlight the extent to which secularisation has made inroads within the French Catholic Church. It also analyses the assertive and conservative Catholic backlash that emerged with the papacy of John Paul II, whose conservatism failed to address the emergence of Catholic integrism that challenged the secular state and attachment to Christian social order as embodied in the concept of Christendom.

Keywords:   secularisation, Catholic identity, France, Catholicism, religious belief, Catholic Church, John Paul II, Catholic integrism

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