France, March 4, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com)
- French President Nicolas Sarkozy has
made headlines in France by returning
to a theme once common with him, but
that he seemed to have abandoned: the
importance of France’s Christian
before a crowd of dignitaries in the
ancient town of Puy-en-Velay, a key
location in the history of French religious
devotion, Sarkozy vigorously defended
the importance of the Christian contribution
to the cultural foundations of France.
has left to us a magnificent heritage.
I am the president of a secular republic,
but I can say this because it is the
truth. I am not proselytizing,”
he told the group.
ascending soon the steps that lead to
the choir of the Cathedral of Puy-en-Velay,
as millions of people have done before
me for almost ten centuries, I am very
moved and I have been, like them, taken
by the smiling majesty of this immense
relic of stone coming to meet me,”
said Sarkozy, referring to Puy-en-Velay’s
most important architectural monument.
went on to add that “Chartres,
Amiens, Reims, Strasbourg, Paris, none
of these towns would be today what it
is in the eyes of French and the eyes
of the rest of the world without these
cathedrals on which the faithful and
tourists always converge.”
heritage, my dear compatriots, obligates
us. This heritage is an opportunity,
but it is first of all a duty. We are
obligated by this heritage. It obligates
us because not only do we have the duty
to transmit it to the generations that
succeed us, but we must assume it, this
heritage, without a complex and without
false modesty,” said Sarkozy,
calling it the “living testimony
of the support of Christianity to our
not concern ourselves with our heritage,
is to betray the history of our country.
Protecting our heritage is protecting
the heritage of France, it is to defend
the most tangible signs of our identity.
I often recall Levi-Strauss: ‘Identity
is not a pathology.” he added.
French president also acknowledged the
cultural contributions of other groups
to French society, including Jews, Muslims,
and secularists, and insisted that recognizing
a French cultural identity was not hostile
to the cultural diversity of the society,
but rather necessary to give it meaning.
would like to say that without identity,
there is no diversity, that at the origin
of diversity there are identities and
that it does not give evidence of closure
but rather of believing in one’s
identity to enable one to better share
with the identities of others. But if
one does not believe in one’s
own identity, how can one share with
that of others and how can one receive
the identities of others?” he
speech hearkens back to themes he emphasized
in his run for the presidency of France
in 2007. In the years following, his
emphasis on the importance of Christianity
seemed to be lost in his second divorce
and remarriage, charges of nepotism
regarding his son, and other scandals
that have rocked his administration.
A recent poll found that Sarkozy’s
approval rating has fallen to just 22%.