Monday, December 11, 2006

Good news from France

The BBC has a story on the erection of a new 29ft statue of Pope John Paul the Great that has been put up in the town of Ploermel. This is an initiative of the mayor of Ploermel which has rather delightfully hacked off various secularists, particularly as the official opening was originally due on the hundredth anniversary of the French separation of Church and State.

I'm quite stuck by the exciting things that are being done by French mayors. I think this is in part because of the stronger Catholic culture, and partly because of the greater executive power that they hold.

The mayor of Paray-le-Monial, for example, recently used a large chunk of public funds to completely renovate the Basilica and the Eucharistic Museum (the Eucharistic Museum incidentally is truly fabulous, and had been closed for a number of years - well worth a visit if you go to Paray). All this gets done in the name of safeguarding cultural heritage, thus not technically violating the separation of church and state.

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