President Macron faces major questions regarding French secularism.
Asked once whether he believed in God, French president Emmanuel Macron replied, “That’s a real question, a complex question. I undoubtedly believe in a transcendence. I am not sure any more that I believe in a God. Yes, I believe in transcendence.”
Another real and complex question for him to answer is that regarding the relationship of the French Republic with Islam. France is a militantly secular country whose militancy has seemed only to grow stronger as the Church grows weaker. France rejects all connection between religion and state; in the mouth of a French intellectual, the words très catho (very Catholic) sound more like an accusation than a description. The ghost of Marshal Pétain—who replaced “Liberty, Equality, Fraternity” with “Work, Family, Fatherland”—still rides.