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Pope Francis tells Emmanuel Macron to remember France's Christian roots

(Reuters/Gonzalo Fuentes)French President Emmanuel Macron wears a Paris 2024 pin and waves goodbye after a meeting with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Evaluation Commission at the Elysee Place in Paris, France May 16, 2017.

Pope Francis has sent a personal message to French President Emmanuel Macron, congratulating him on his inauguration to his new office and urging him to support the country's Christian traditions.

"I pray that God support you so that your country, faithful to the rich diversity of its moral traditions and its spiritual heritage marked also by the Christian tradition, may always endeavor to build a more just and fraternal society," the pope wrote in a telegram message, according to Catholic News Agency.

"With respect for difference and attention to those in situations of vulnerability and exclusion, may it contribute to the cooperation and solidarity between nations," he added.

On the day of the inauguration, which took place on May 14, the pontiff sent his good wishes for Macron's presidency and expressed hope that he will use his office to be "at the service" of France, to show "respect for life" and to embrace peace and the common good.

The pope concluded his message by invoking God's blessing on Macron as well as all of France's inhabitants.

Macron, who was the youngest president to ever be elected in France at 39, beat far-right candidate Marine Le Pen with 66 percent of the votes in France's presidential election on May 7.

He has been described by his biographer Marc Endeweld as a "zombie Catholic," which means that he has assimilated certain aspects of the religion even though he is not proactively practicing his faith.

However, Macron's Catholicism has been such a strong part of his political identity that the newspaper Libération proclaimed in a headline: "Help, Jesus has returned!"

According to French scholars Emmanuel Todd and Hervé Le Bras, zombie Catholicism is commonly seen in areas of France such as Macron's Brittany, where the religion appears to have fallen dormant but still remains active in the collective consciousness.

While he has never been elected to any other political office, Macron ran as the head of En March!, a new movement, which has been regarded as progressive and secularist.

Macron, who is now facing a slate of difficulties such as unemployment, terror threats and political division, has said that he hopes to transcend the divides of the left and right political parties.

He said that he sees it as his duty to let "everybody practise their religion with dignity," but he maintained that the laws of the Republic must prevail over religious law in the public

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