Unholy Union: History, Politics and the Relationship between Church and State in Modern France

Herman T. Salton


Few countries have had such a complex, conflictual and contradictory relationship with religion as France. This article reassesses the key literature on the subject and argues that while the place of religion in French history remains as controversial and as difficult to define as ever, the country’s coming of age actually occurred in 1905 with the law of separation between Church and State. This article also suggests that while France remains predominantly Catholic at heart, a key ingredient of national identity lies in the revered principle of laïcité, and this has in fact emerged out of fierce struggles with the Catholic Church.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5539/res.v4n5p135

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Review of European Studies   ISSN 1918-7173 (Print)   ISSN 1918-7181 (Online)

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