France’s President receives Catholic honorary title from Pope

France’s President Emmanuel Macron has been given an honorary title by Pope Francis.

Macron visited the Vatican to accept an inherited title of the “First and Only Honorary Canon” of the Basilica of St. John Lateran.

St John Lateran is the pope’s cathedral in his capacity as bishop of Rome.

Under a tradition that began in the 15th century when France was a monarchy, French leaders are automatically given the title.

While Macron was at the Vatican, he and Francis discussed a range of diplomatic issues.

These included environmental protection, migration and conflict prevention and resolution, particularly disarmament.

They also spoke about prospects for resolving conflicts in the Middle East and Africa, and the future of Europe.

The Vatican has reported the meeting between Francis and Macron was unusually long – about twice as long as Francis usually spends with heads of state or government.

Francis and Macron also exchanged gifts.

Macron gave Francis a rare copy of Georges Bernanos’ 1936 book Diary of a Country Priest.

Francis gave Macron a medal depicting St. Martin of Tours, who gave his cloak to a poor man.

Although the meeting between Francis and Macron was successful, Macron has been accused of straining France’s secular foundations by seeking to mend ties with the Church.

Critics say his efforts blur a line that has kept French government free of religious intervention for generations.

The issue is particularly sensitive in historically Catholic France, where matters of faith and state were separated by law in 1905 and which is now home to Europe’s largest Muslim and Jewish communities.

France’s guiding principles also hold that religious observance is a private matter for all faiths.

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News category: World.

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