- ZORN Jean-François, CARBONNIER-BURKARD Marianne - Les Protestants, la loi de 1905 et la laïcité (Introduction)
- BÜHLER Pierre - La Séparation des Églises et de l’État
- CADIER-REY Gabrielle - L’impact de la loi de Séparation sur la Faculté de théologie protestante de Paris
- FABRE Rémi - Raoul Allier et le projet de Séparation des Églises et de l’État : 1904-1905
- STORNE-SENGEL Catherine - 1905 : la Séparation vue et vécue par les paroisses protestantes
- ANDRAULT Marc - L’Église de Jean-Paul II et la laïcité « à la française »
- BAUBÉROT Jean - 1905-2005 : la laïcité française et les minorités religieuses
- GROSHENS Jean-Claude - La loi de 1905 et le régime des cultes aujourd’hui
- ROLLAND Patrice - La loi de 1905 à l’épreuve des sectes
- ZORN Jean-François - La division dans la Séparation
Considering the theological issues at stake in the relationship between Churches and State in France, Pierre Bühler reflects on the interaction between faith and history and draws from the Reformer’s doctrine of the two reigns (Luther) or jurisdictions (Calvin) some theological standards to assess the régime of separation according to the 1905 law.
Created in 1878, the Protestant Faculté de théologie in Paris owed a substantial part of its intellectual prestige to its links with the Sorbonne University and the École pratique des hautes études. After the 1905 law of separation had been enforced, the Faculté‘s major concern was to maintain its former academic standards while facing important financial difficulties. The division between evangelical and liberal Protestantism also affected its teaching organization and caused a dramatic decrease of the number of students for a few years. Gabrielle Cadier-Rey retraces this crucial period of the young Protestant institution.
In 1904-05, Raoul Allier, a French philosopher lecturing at the Protestant Faculté de théologie in Paris, intensely campaigned for a liberal separation between Churches and State that would guarantee the rights of religious minorities. Rémi Fabre shows that on the whole the French philosopher was satisfied with the law voted on December 9, 1905: Allier thought it honoured the legislators of the Republic. Yet, he strongly believed in religious freedom and had also hoped partly to no avail that the new régime of the cults would bring about democratization in the Catholic Church and new energies and faith awakening amongst Protestant Churches.
The practical consequences of the separation between Churches and State in France could be seen in the renewal of activities in Protestant parishes. Catherine Storne-Sengel shows that with the creation of religious associations, financial questions drastically came back to the fore, while an opportunity was given to alter the conditions of voting and eligibility and moderately increase the role of women and laypeople.
In this essay Marc Andrault contends that in spite of some appearances, the hierarchy of the Catholic Church, including the French episcopacy, has not yet come to terms with the laïcité of the French Republic. The recognition of a « legitimate laïcité » (namely God an Caesar « different yet united in accordance with the true principles ») entails no actual recognition of the threefold separation which took place at the end of the nineteenth century between God and the Republic, Church and schools, Church and State.
Jean Baubérot sets forth ten hypotheses about the connections between French laïcité and religious minorities from the end of the eighteenth century up to the 1905 law that separated Churches and State. He first shows that the régime of « recognized cults » was a political attempt to achieve religious pluralism; then, on the basis of parliamentary debates he demonstrates that the 1905 law clearly favoured the pacification of the conflict which opposed the « two France » rather than the recognition of such pluralism.
The 1905 law and its legislative additional texts voted from 1907 to 1924 is only one element of the régime of cults in France today. According to Jean-Claude Groshens, religious communities developed rights that were added on top of the too limited principle of separation between Church and State. These rights benefited ancient recognized cults, especially the Catholic Church, while the 1901 law on the rights of associations allowed all religious groups to organize themselves outside the quite favourable yet narrow frame of the 1905 law.
According to Patrice Rolland, the development of sectarian communities in France puts the 1905 law to the test by highlighting some of its underlying assumptions and values such as ancient cultural beliefs, implicit faith in the virtues of individualism, religious pluralism and privatization of religion. Affecting the reality of the 1905 separation and the way we understand it, sectarianism raises the questions of how cults are to be defined and of what regulation can be implemented within the régime of such separation.
By introducing the notion of « Separation between Churches and State » in the 1905 law, the French legislators took over an idea that Protestants had been claiming since the beginning of the nineteenth century. Yet, the Reformed Church had split into several denominations during that same century, in spite of several attempts at reunification. Jean-François Zorn examines the connection between these two types of separation and eventually concludes that the 1905 law and its new régime indirectly confirmed the separation among French Protestants who in the process lost in unity what they had gained in liberty.