Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Sarko Reassures the Masons

Sarko has reassured Jean-Michel Quillardet, grand master of Le Grand Orient de France, a prominent lodge of Freemasons, that he respects "secular morality" and the separation of church and state. He will soon make an appearance before the Grand Orient--a not-so-secret secret society, apparently. This exercise in fire-extinguishing comes of course in the wake of the president's controversial statements in Rome about "positive laïcité," the Christian roots of Western civilization, etc. (see several previous posts in this thread).

We all have short memories in politics. Chirac visited Rome in January of 1996 to accept the honorific title of canon of Saint John Lateran, which has been bestowed on all French presidents, including the confirmed Mason Vincent Auriol. At that time Chirac made a speech in which he said that he "wanted to tighten our millennial bonds, confirm France's fidelity to its Christian heritage, and manifest my respectful devotion to Your Person [speaking to the pope]. ... 'Eldest daughter of the Church'--France has earned the epiteht by its Catholic fidelity, its missionary zeal, and, to borrow an expression of His Holiness John XXIII, by 'the admirable line of saints' that springs from our soil. An important part of our heritage is to be a beacon of religious fervor." [quoted in Philippe Madelin, Jacques Chirac, p. 590.]

The Republic survived.

2 comments:

francofou said...

I glad you changed "defenders" to "offenders." You had me worried.

Arthur Goldhammer said...

Yes, I suppose that it would be a task beyond even Sarkozyan voluntarism to lock up all incurable sex defenders.