Informations and abstract
By now, the notion that our system is inspired by the principle of 'laicism' seems to be a common conviction. However, at the same time uncertainty is observed as to the contents and characteristics of this principle: what appears unquestioned is above all the negative aspect - the exclusion of the confessional model - while the 'positive' aspect - the position of the State vis-à-vis the religious issue - is the object of varied interpretations. The fact that the text of the Constitution does not expressly mention the principle of laicism seems to open the way for profoundly different conceptions; as is often the case in this sort of situation, many positions follow non-juridical criteria and find their most powerful argument in coherence with respect to ideological positions. The principle of the laicism of the State does not lead to a negation of room for an ethical component in pluralist democracy; if anything, it identifies precisely an 'ethical space' where all, whether believers in any religion or non-believers, can be understood and respected. In this context, only the intolerant can be denied welcome, but tolerance does not mean a commitment, much less a prior commitment, to renounce upholding, with every means permitted by the democratic system, fundamental values concerning the dignity of the person and the welfare of the society in which one believes.