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French presidential candidate Le Pen: ‘I am angry with the Church’

April 17, 2017

French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen told the daily La Croix: “I am angry with the Church because I think it interferes with everything except what it should really be concerned with.”

Le Pen said that she has a “strong faith, and I am fortunate that I have never doubted it.” But she was blunt in her criticism of Pope Francis, particularly on the issue of immigration. She insisted that charitable activities should be the responsibilities of individuals, while states should pursue their national interests. When the Pope urges nations to accept immigrants without restrictions, she said, “this falls within the realm of politics and even interference.”

Le Pen said that if she is elected as president of France, she will “with great pleasure” invite Pope Francis to visit. “And I will tell him exactly what I have just told you,” she added.

Pollsters in France have consistently rated Le Pen as likely to emerge as a finalists in the presidential race. The first round of balloting will take place next week, and unless one candidate wins a majority—a highly unlikely outcome—the two leading vote-getters will pair off for a final contest on May 7.

In her interview with La Croix, Le Pen took a strong stand for the French tradition of secularity in government and in public affairs generally. She argued that religious symbols such as the Islamic veil should not be allowed in public, explaining: “Secularism means that one can pass someone in the street without either one knowing what faith the other follows.”

When asked whether religious leaders have a right to enter into public debates, Le Pen replied: “I don’t get involved with what the Pope should say to his followers. I don’t think religious should tell the French people how to vote.” She complained that the French bishops’ conference—which has clearly signaled a distaste for Le Pen’s National Front—has also overstepped its proper bounds.

 
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  • Posted by: brenda22890 - Apr. 18, 2017 5:55 AM ET USA

    Le Pen is not wrong about the Church - Pope, Bishops conferences, priests, nuns - spend way too much time opining about political affairs and not about the things of God. When it comes to Catholic social teaching, they forget entirely about subsidiarity.

  • Posted by: hartwood01 - Apr. 17, 2017 10:53 PM ET USA

    Oh,Le Pen,please do invite Pope Francis to visit you if you are elected. You are no match,"strong faith" and all,for him.

  • Posted by: jackbene3651 - Apr. 17, 2017 8:51 PM ET USA

    I'd have to go with Le Pen on this one. She's usually right. The Holy Father needs to think more about his comments before making them public. They are often insulting to faithful Catholics who are just trying to get by.