Nine churches desecrated in 11 days

Nine churches have been vandalised in 11 days during a recent spate of church desecrations in France.

The desecrations have included the scattering of Eucharistic hosts and using faeces to draw a crucifix on a wall.

The vandals have also smashed statues, knocked down tabernacles, burnt altar cloths and torn down crosses.

Edouard Philippe, France’s prime minister, says “Such acts shock me and must be unanimously condemned”.

So far, there has been one confession. Officials have not yet said if the various incidents are related.

A religious rights organisation, the Observatory on Intolerance and Discrimination in Europe, has called on France’s public officials to do more to stem attacks on churches and Christian monuments.

The Observatory has documented a wave of assaults on Christian sites across France in the past few months.

They include arson and vandalism at a Catholic cathedral in Lavaur and acts of vandalism at three parish churches in the Vendee region where statues and windows were damaged.

The police arrested two teenagers in Lavaur after reviewing footage from the street’s surveillance camera.

Statues were destroyed at St Nicolas de Houilles Church, in Yvelines, which has been attacked four times. On 4 February a statue representing the Madonna with Child dating from the nineteenth century was “completely pulverized” and “irreparable” a priest says.

At the nearby church of St Nicolas de Maisons-Lafite a tabernacle was thrown onto the ground.

Earlier this month, the Bishop of Nimes, Robert Wattebled, said church leaders were now faced with ‘practical questions’ on how to keep their churches open without ‘excessive risks of vandalism’ after excrement was used to desecrate a tabernacle at the city’s Notre-Dame-des-Enfants Church on 5 February.

Despite the spate of assaults, the Observatory says the nation’s leaders are not doing enough to help protect churches from attacks and that the media too are paying ‘little attention’.

Far-left and anarchist slogans, such as “class war” and “No God, No Masters,” were found scribbled on the damaged churches.


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