Islamic states are far from the French model promoted by the French Revolution, or the American model promoted by the American Revolution, both revolutions having the same goals although the French one was a disaster for the Church and the American one has helped the Church tremendously in the USA.
I am glad the Holy Father clarified His Holiness' position on this!
‘State must be secular, single-religion states end badly’ – Pope Francis to French Catholic paper
Pope Francis believes that a healthy secularism paired with a strong law that grants above all a religious freedom is the key to a successful and peaceful state, while states tied to a single religion don’t have a future.
“Confessional states end badly…I believe that secularism accompanied by a strong law which guarantees religious freedom provides a framework for moving forward,” the Pontiff said in an interview with Guillaume Goubert, director of French Roman Catholic newspaper La Croix.
Addressing increasing worries of Christians that Islam is becoming ever more widespread in Europe, Pope Francis says that everyone has a right to exercise the religion he or she chooses, and a secular state as opposed to a single-religion one can grant this opportunity.
“We are all equal, as sons of God or [creations] of our personal dignity. But everyone should have the freedom to exercise their own faith. If a Muslim woman wants to wear a hijab, she should be able to. Similarly so, if a Catholic wants to wear a cross. We must have an opportunity to profess our faith not on the sidelines of the [national] culture but within it,” Francis said.
“The small criticism I’ll be addressing to France in this regard is that France exaggerates secularism. This stems from a way of considering religion as a subculture and not a whole culture. France should take a step forward on this issue to accept that openness to transcendence is everyone’s right.”
When asked about current controversial social issues, such as the legality of euthanasia or same-sex marriages, the Pontiff once again stated that social issues must be dealt with by secular authorities, but that people's personal beliefs and convictions should be respected when a certain law is adopted.
“It is the parliament that must discuss, argue, explain, reason. Thus the society will evolve and grow. But when the law is passed, the state must respect [religious beliefs]. In each legal structure, objections of conscience must be present for it is a human right. Including for a government official, who is also a human being,” Francis said, adding that a truly secular state cannot exist without criticism and respect for its people and their beliefs.
“The state must respect criticism. That is true secularism,” Francis said.
MY COMMENTS: The last paragraph in red seems to imply to me that Pope Francis was delighted to meet with Kentucky magistrate Kim Davis when His Holiness' visited the USA recently. There was a brouhaha that somehow the now retired Papal Nuncio has broadsided Pope Francis in allowing Mrs. Davis to personally meet with His Holiness. While the pope may not agree with everything Kim Davis believes, it is clear to me that in her case His Holiness supports what is quoted above in red: In each legal structure, objections of conscience must be present for it is a human right. Including for a government official, who is also a human being,”
I also agree that the secular state has a right to regulate civil unions, what the state might call marriage. But again, Catholics and other faithful Christians and those of other religions must be respected by the state.
President Obama has done more than any other president to erode religious freedom in this country and has pushed our country into its currently polarized state of affairs where three fringe candidates for the presidency are capitalizing on President Obama's arrogance and war on religion and religious liberty.
Pope Francis is right on when His Holiness says the following which is a direct slam against President Obama's political agenda and others of his same ilk: a healthy secularism paired with a strong law that grants above all a religious freedom is the key to a successful and peaceful state.