Musical About St Bernadette of Lourdes violates principle of secularism

French officials have prevented schools from taking pupils for free to a musical about Saint Bernadette of Lourdes, claiming it would contravene rules on keeping all religion out of education.

The show’s producers were informed by mail that it was being excluded from a “pass culture” scheme that allows teachers to take groups to cultural events for free, for not respecting the principle of laïcité, a complex republican tenet often translated as “secularism”.

Roberto Ciurleo, a co-producer of the show Bernadette de Lourdes, described the decision as “brutal and senseless” and said the production team would contest it.

“Our show is a historical reconstruction in the form of a police investigation, drawn from the official records … it tells the story of Bernadette’s interrogations,” Ciurleo said.

“There is no apparition of the Virgin Mary in the grotto.” He added: “The director is an atheist, as are the songwriters.” Read more

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