Last month, the Canadian philosopher Charles Taylor, who is also a Catholic, came to Taipei for two interesting talks. In one of them Taylor laid out two models of secularism that in his naming are « the American model » and the « the French model. » Gauging each model by how faithfully they correspond to the democratic spirit of modern pluralistic society respectively, Taylor favors the formal and holds his critique of the latter.
In this interview La Croix conducted (my summary of it in Chinese here), you can clearly see how Pope Francis echoes Taylor’s call in his rejection of the French model of laïcité, namely, the political understanding of the government as the embodiment of the « counter-church, » whose role is to keep all pubic religious exercises at bay so as to minister to a « religionless » public square.
So as the French model prevails there, Pope Francis is also daring enough to call the French [Catholics] « the eldest daughter of the Church, but not the most faithful, » whose republic nowadays has downgraded itself to a « mission country, » rendering the land « a periphery to be evangelized. »
But he is convinced that there isn’t necessarily « a need for priests in order to evangelize. » Baptism, and the Holy Spirit whom the believers received upon baptism, should provide the motif to evangelize, which means « to go out, to take the Christian message with courage and patience. »
« The Holy Spirit is the protagonist of whatever happens in the Church, its motor. Too many Christians are ignorant of this (in their false reliance on and espousal of ‘clericalism’). »
Just the other day I was working on the German weekly Die Zeit’s cover story on Christian ecumenism in which ample external evidences are offered to suggest that Francis is a very Protestant-friendly Pope.
That pales in comparison to his internal convictions stated here though. You can see how « Protestant reformed » this Pope is.