Beyond Ideology

Catholic and French Forever

Religious and National Identity in Modern France

Joseph F. Byrnes

Pennsylvania State University Press, $50, 278 pp.

When Pope John Paul II arrived at the airport on his first trip to France in 1980, he scolded “the eldest daughter of the church” for being untrue to her baptismal vows. France was the land that produced Joan of Arc and Thérèse of Lisieux, and yet Mass attendance was abysmally low, and vocations almost nonexistent. Still, his remarks were not appreciated.

Then again, France is not Poland, as the late pontiff well understood. Not...

The remainder of this article is only available to paid subscribers.

Print subscribers to Commonweal are entitled to free access to all premium online content. Click here to purchase a print subscription, or if you’re already a print subscriber, register now for premium access.

Online-only subscriptions provide access to all premium online articles for just $34/year or $2.95/month. Click here to subscribe.

Registered users, please log in below:

Or log in with...


About the Author

Steven Englund, a longtime Commonweal contributor, is currently writing a study, From Anti-Judaism to Anti-Semitism, and Back Again.