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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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La laïcité en France au vingtième siècle

La laïcité en France au vingtième siècle

(p.18) 1 La laïcité en France au vingtième siècle
Catholicism, Politics and Society in Twentieth-Century France

Émile Poulat

Liverpool University Press

This chapter explores secularism as a paradoxical principle intertwined with the evolution of the Catholic Church in France. It challenges a common definition of secularism as religious neutrality, arguing that its very guarantee of religious existence and expression, in the name of the freedom of conscience, connects rather than separates state and religion. The chapter shows how the Catholic Church was forced to learn to operate as one religion among many in accordance with the principle of the equality of religions as spelled out in the 1905 Separation, whose one significant effect is that the Catholic Church can no longer legitimately claim special status.

Keywords:   secularism, Catholic Church, France, religious neutrality, freedom of conscience, religion, equality of religions, 1905 Separation

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