The French Republic and "papolatrie"

8 April 2005

A new sin has sprung up in France: "papolatrie", or pope worship. Today's IHT describes the debate sparked by the government marking the pope's death.

"The government is giving the impression that it is an advocate for one religion, and that religion is Catholicism. And that's an abuse of power," argues Yves Contassot of France's Green Party.

62% of French people describe themselves as Catholic, the article notes, "but the country also is struggling to shore up its secular identity after banning religious symbols from schools, including Muslim headscarves, Jewish yarmulkes and large Christian crosses".

So is this blatant hypocrisy, as some claim? Here's what you said about the headscarf ban at the time, replying to a piece by our writer Dave Belden. And your discussion that accompanied our trio of articles on the subject.

How does the controversy surrounding papolatrie fit in? Discuss it here.

Our coverage of the headscarf ban:
France unveiled: making Muslims into citizens?, Johannes Willms
A nation in diversity: France, Muslims and the headscarf, Patrick Weil
Hijab hysteria: France and its Muslims, Svend White

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