PARIS - French President Nicolas Sarkozy rejected calls for secular values to be enshrined into his country's constitution and urged religious leaders to do more to spread their message in the country.

"A secular society is one which has decided to separate churches from the state, so the state doesn't have to account for its choices to churches, and churches don't depend on the state to live and organize -- this is secularity, a secular republic," he told religious leaders at a traditional New Year meeting Jan. 25.

Published in International

DOMREMY, France - French President Nicolas Sarkozy praised his country's patron, St. Joan of Arc, for helping "forge the national conscience."

"For the church, Joan is a saint. For the republic, she's the incarnation of the finest French virtues, including a patriotism that consists of loving one's homeland without resenting others," the president said Jan. 6 after attending Mass at Domremy to mark the 600th anniversary of her birth.

Published in International