“In fact, it is fundamental, on the one hand, to insist upon the distinction between the political realm and that of religion in order to preserve both the religious freedom of citizens and the responsibility of the state toward them,” the pope said during the encounter with Sarkozy and other officials of the French government.Mr. John L. Allen Jr., in his weekly online essay examined the implications of these remarks.
“On the other hand, [it is important] to become more aware of the irreplaceable role of religion for the formation of consciences and the contribution which it can bring to – among other things – the creation of a basic ethical consensus within society,” the pope said.
In addition, his essay concludes with links to several moments of the trip in reverse chronology.
Wiki-image of French President Nicolas Sarkozy by Aleph is used according to the Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.5 license.