French President Emmanuel Macron has often caught the world’s attention. But the mainstream media has overlooked one of the most important and most frightening developments of his presidency: his courting of the Roman Catholic Church.
The Notre Dame fire in April 2019 caught the world’s attention. Media of all languages reported it. People of all religions were glued to their screens. In response, Macron pledged to restore the cathedral to even greater glory.
Yet an event almost exactly a year before the burning of the cathedral should have caught the world’s attention even more, but it didn’t: Macron’s plea to restore the link between church and state in France.
At the Collège des Bernardins, on April 9, 2018, Macron gave an hourlong speech addressing French Catholic bishops and more than 400 Catholic leaders. In his opening remarks, he said, “[W]e doubtless share the same vague feeling that the link between the church and the state has been damaged and we both believe it is important to repair it.”
A Historic Responsibility
Following the fires at Notre Dame, the Institute of Current World Affairs noted in an article titled “In Secular France, Catholic Roots Run Deep”: “In a secular country home to 45,000 Catholic churches—as well as Europe’s largest Muslim and Jewish populations—the fire’s symbolic undertones were difficult to miss.” Around 60 percent of the population in France identifies as Catholic, but “churches are increasingly empty—shells of a bygone Catholic France,” it noted. Some estimate that only 2.9 percent practice their faith.
The Notre Dame fire “showed us how deeply rooted Catholic culture is,” Guillaume Cuchet, a historian of Christianity, told the Institute of Current World Affairs. “Even if the practices have largely disappeared, the culture has, at least for now, outlived the erasure of religious practice. That might not hold indefinitely, but it doesn’t disappear in two or three generations either.”
Macron is well aware of this fact. Not only does he want to restore Notre Dame to greater glory, he also wants to restore the Catholic Church’s position in French politics. In that 2018 address, Macron said:
Indeed, it is because I refuse to be indifferent that I am aware to what extent the history that the state and the church have shared for so long is now peppered with misunderstandings and reciprocal mistrust. …
France’s history has witnessed a series of moments where the church was at the heart of the city of man and moments where it was outside the city gates.
But today, in this period of great social fragility, when even the fabric of the nation is at risk of falling apart, I believe it is my responsibility not to let Catholics’ trust for politics and politicians erode away. I cannot accept such an abandonment. And I cannot let this disappointment get out of control.
A Priest Disguised as a President
His comments, at the time, though barely noticed outside France’s borders, received much criticism in France. Some saw it as an attack against France’s secularity. Others called Macron a priest disguised as a president. “Macron is in a complete metaphysical delirium. Intolerable. We expect a president, and we hear a priest,” Jean-Luc Mélanchon, leader of the far-left France Unbowed party, said at the time.
When Europe’s history of religious wars, crusades and inquisitions are considered, it is clear why France is adamant at keeping religion and politics separate.
“What I want to call for tonight,” Macron told the Catholic bishops, “is your political involvement in our national debate and in our European debate, because your faith is part of commitment that this debate needs and because, historically, you have always brought your ideas to the table because effectiveness means not disconnecting individual action from political and public action.”
Referencing common mistrust toward Catholics, Macron said: “For biographical, personal and intellectual reasons, I have a higher opinion of Catholics.” At age 12, Macron pursued Catholic baptism and later attended a Jesuit college. Today, his religious beliefs guide his politics.
“While those close to him say he is an agnostic, many consider him a ‘zombie Catholic’—one whose faith continues to influence him after formal belief has died,” priest Ben Johnson noted for the Acton Institute.
Macron believes that the Catholic Church’s spiritual guidance is crucial to France’s success. He said:
To voluntarily close my eyes to the spiritual dimension that the Catholics bring to their moral, intellectual, family, work and social lives would be to limit myself to a partial view of France; it would be to misunderstand this country, its history, its people; by remaining indifferent I would be failing to do my job properly. And I would be doing the same if I were to ignore all the religions that are present today in our country.
One such religion in France is Islam—a religion Macron views very differently from Catholicism
Pushing Back Against Islam
Islam can only dominate France politically if other religions remain politically inactive. If the Catholic Church reenters the political stage, other religions’ influence will diminish quickly.
The United Kingdom’s Catholic Herald wrote in “Why Is Macron Courting the Church?”:
Macron knows full well that France’s 8 million Muslims belong to a religious tradition that accepts no distinction between politics and religion, but also, as the historical record unambiguously attests, seeks to dominate society politically and religiously once it becomes the majority. …
Could Macron’s speech to Catholics be the start of efforts to rethink [secularism] in ways that would effectively “tame” Islam in France? At this stage, it’s too early to tell.
Emmanuel Macron seeks to empower France’s Catholics to combat political Islam.
“Political Islam wants to secede from our republic,” Macron said in April. “We are talking about people who, in the name of a religion, pursue a political project.”
But Macron’s ambition to combat radical Islam stretches beyond France’s borders. “Christians are paying for their attachment to religious pluralism with their lives,” he said. “I am thinking, of course, of the Christians of the East. Political leaders and the church share the same responsibility to these persecuted individuals, not only because we have historically inherited the duty to protect them, but because we know that wherever they are, they are the symbol of religious tolerance.”
Christians in the Middle East are being persecuted by radical Islamists. For centuries, these groups have repeatedly clashed. Muslims have sought to invade Europe; Christians have sought to populate the Middle East to get control of the Holy Land. European leaders in the postwar era have more or less lost sight of that goal.
Tens of thousands of Christians have lost their lives in the Middle East or were forced to abandon their homes. In 2019 alone, more than 4,000 Christians worldwide were killed for religious reasons, according to Open Doors World’s Watch List. More than a thousand churches or church buildings were attacked in 2019. In numbers, Christians are the most persecuted group on Earth. In the past, world leaders have rarely addressed the issue. The topic of religious persecution is, for many, too sensitive.
This is changing now. And France has one of Europe’s strongest militaries to back its words with action. France is already actively engaged in fighting the Islamic State in the Middle East. We can expect these efforts to intensify.
The Holy Roman Empire
When Macron talks about a historic responsibility, restoring the Catholic Church’s role in France, and combatting political Islam, he is really talking about resurrecting the Holy Roman Empire. This is the heritage Europe is living by. It’s about an empire led by the Catholic Church! “The [European] Community is living largely by the heritage of the Holy Roman Empire, though the great majority of the people who live by it don’t know by what heritage they live,” the late Otto von Habsburg said.
Macron knows this heritage well. He often refers to its leaders and culture. This empire has ruled Europe for over 1,500 years. Its rule is marked by ups and downs—mountains and valleys—as governments have risen and fallen. Emperors and kingdoms have come and gone, but the Catholic Church has remained constant.
Macron believes that the Continent’s greatest achievements have come through this church-state union.
He said, “From the point of view of a head of state, from a secular point of view, I am concerned that those who work at the heart of French society, those who work to heal its wounds and console its sick, also need a voice on the political scene, on both the national and European political stage.”
Macron wants all of Europe to be guided by this church.
In May, he addressed European citizens in an article and proposed “a conference for Europe” that is able to amend European Union treaties and is also partially advised by religious and spiritual leaders.
It’s important to note Macron’s efforts to resurrect the Holy Roman Empire. The Bible prophesies that this empire will once again rule the Earth, right up to the point of Jesus Christ’s Second Coming.
The Woman Who Rides the Beast
In Revelation 17, the Apostle John recorded a prophetic vision of our age. This chapter describes a woman who rides a beast. We need to be able to identify who this woman and beast are.
Verse 2 refers to a woman with “whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication.” A woman in the Bible is symbolic for a church. The Bible describes the woman or Revelation 17 as a whore who commits fornication with the kings of the Earth. This church has great influence and has guided kingdoms for a significant amount of time (verse 3). It sits on “seven mountains” and has influence over “peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues” (verses 9, 15). This influential church has had such international impact because it is allied with a world-ruling empire, represented by the beast (verse 3).
The Bible leaves no doubt that this is referring to the the Holy Roman Empire—a political power, with incredible military strength, that is led by the Catholic Church. A look at a map will show that Rome, headquarters of the Catholic Church, is situated on seven hills; the woman who rides the beast truly does sit on “seven mountains.” (For more detailed information about this empire, request our free book The Holy Roman Empire in Prophecy.)
As Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry explains in Daniel Unlocks Revelation, the Holy Roman Empire as described in Daniel 2, Daniel 7, Revelation 13 and Revelation 17 was prophesied to plague this Earth seven successive times. We have already seen this empire rise six times. The last resurrection is prophesied to consist of 10 European nations, or groups of nations, ruled by 10 European kings. At the helm of this empire will be Germany.
The Trumpet and its predecessor, the Plain Truth, have foretold for decades that one of these 10 nations will be France. Modern France, as the late Herbert W. Armstrong explained in The United States and Britain in Prophecy, is the descendant of ancient Reuben, one of the 12 sons of Jacob, or Israel (as God changed his name to be).
Reuben was Israel’s firstborn, but due to his gross misconduct, the birthright promises and the name Israel was given to Joseph.
Reuben anciently betrayed his brother Joseph (e.g. Genesis 37 through 46). The descendants of Joseph are Britain, America and other parts of the English-speaking world. In Genesis 49, Jacob delivers a prophecy to his 12 sons regarding “the last days” (verse 1). Jacob prophesied that Reuben would be “unstable as water.” In “France Is Betraying America and Fulfilling Bible Prophecy!”, Mr. Flurry explained, “You never know exactly how [France] is going to behave, even toward [its] own brother.” The descendants of Reuben will betray the descendants of Joseph—that is what the sure word of Bible prophecy says. As Mr. Flurry has written, Macron has made “bold remarks that reveal a lot about how he feels about the U.S. today.” (For the specifics of this betrayal, please read Mr. Flurry’s article.)
A Call to Repentance
Putting all these Bible prophecies together, we can clearly see that France is prophesied to ally with the Holy Roman Empire against America and Britain. We are seeing this happen today on the world stage. France, under Macron, promises greater unity in the EU. It opposes U.S. leadership within nato and instead seeks closer cooperation with Germany.
Macron’s call for greater Catholic involvement in Europe is prophetic. Macron has also called for a true European army. Consider that the Holy Roman Empire is mostly famous for its military conquests.
Macron’s push to revive Europe’s Catholic heritage and his efforts to build up Europe’s military should send shock waves around the world. But our leaders have a poor understanding of history and no understanding of Bible prophecy; they are, therefore, oblivious to the true danger emanating from Europe.
But God hasn’t given up on this world. He wants mankind to repent. He gives a clear charge to His Church today: “Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?” (Ezekiel 33:11).
“The root cause of all human suffering and death is made clear here: sin. God is crying out, through His watchman, for all mankind to repent! Evil leads only to death; God wants us to live,” Mr. Flurry said in “God’s Watchman.” God will use the Holy Roman Empire to drive this point home. Mankind is about to see its greatest calamity ever, before God intervenes to put an end to all suffering. That is what it takes for mankind to learn this lesson.
As we see the rise of this final resurrection of the Holy Roman Empire, it is high time to heed this call for repentance. Nations ought to heed this message and escape the terrible punishment. But whether they heed this message or not, you individually have a responsibility to hear God’s Word. Request our free book The Holy Roman Empire in Prophecy to understand God’s plan for the years ahead.