And nobody can seem to figure out where it is coming from. Catholic churches in France are being vandalized, set on fire & smeared with excrement, in a surge in attacks that some are designating a sign of “anti-religious intolerance.” (Gee, I wonder who the “religious intolerants” could be?)
The Church of St. Sulpice in Paris, where the Da Vinci Code movie was filmed, was set on fire just after midday mass this past Sunday, Le Parisien reports. Firefighters and police said the blaze was an arson attack.
Aleteia There were almost 50 attacks and acts of vandalism against religious sites in France documented in the month of February, according to Observatory on Intolerance and Discrimination against Christians in Europe. One of the worst occurred at the historic Basilica of Saint-Denis, just north of Paris. Someone entered the Gothic church, where French monarchs are buried, smashed a historic stained-glass window, and wrecked the organ and choir-stalls.
In February, a 19th century statue of the Virgin Mary was smashed at the St. Nicholas Catholic Church in Houilles. The statue was “completely pulverized,”Father Francois-Laurent Heart said. “It is irreparable.”The church reported three incidents in 10 days, with a cross also thrown on the floor by vandals.
In Nimes, at the Church of Notre-Dame des Enfants, a cross was drawn on a wall with excrement, and pieces of consecrated Communion Hosts were stuck onto it. The tabernacle was broken and other consecrated hosts were destroyed in the February 5 action.
Nimes Bishop Robert Wattebled lamented that the faithful had been “hurt in their deepest convictions.”
At Saint-Alain Cathedral in Lavaur, statues and crosses were smashed and an altar cloth was burned in February. A statue of Christ on a cross was also interfered with, as vandals twisted one of the arms to make it appear that Jesus was dabbing, La Depeche reports.
Meanwhile, the Notre-Dame des Enfants church in Nimes was looted and vandals used human excrement to draw a cross on the wall in February. Consecrated hosts of unleavened bread, which Catholics believe is the body of Jesus Christ, were found scattered outside with rubbish.
On February 23, the bas-relief on the altar of the Saint-Gilles church in Saint-Gilles-Croix-de-Vie was vandalized, with the Christ figure beheaded, the Observatory reported, saying it was the most recent incident in a series of attacks on churches in the Vendée region.
Ellen Fantini, executive director of the Vienna-based Observatory, told The Tablet that France was currently the “worst country in Europe” for “secularist, anti-religious intolerance” and was facing growing problems with anti-Christian actions by anarchist, feminist and Islamic movements. (You can eliminate the first two)
Also in February, eucharistic hosts were stolen and scattered around Notre-Dame church in Dijon, with Father Emmanuel Pic denouncing the attack as on the “heart of the Catholic faith.”
Several local religious communities—the Carmelites, Cistercians and Poor Clares of the Diocese—agreed to observe a day of prayer and fasting in reparation for acts of vandalism. (Oh, that’ll solve the problem)
“Although the motives aren’t always known, many are clearly aimed against Catholics,” said Fantini. The Observatory listed over 500 “brutal attacks” and discriminatory acts against Christians in Europe in a 2018 report.
There is not much information on who might be behind the attacks, but a 35 year-old man has confessed to police that he carried out a February 10 attack at St. Nicholas Church in Houilles, Yvelines, throwing the tabernacle to the ground.
Although commentators have been reluctant to attach a particular religious or cultural origin to the profanations, they all share an evident anti-Christian character.
And how could we talk about church vandalism in France without remembering the French priest Father Jacques Hamel who was savagely beheaded by Muslim terrorists in 2016?
In recent months, anti-Semitic gangs have desecrated Jewish cemeteries, signing their actions with swastikas. In the case of the desecration of Catholic churches, the vandalism has spoken for itself: ridicule of the figure of Christ on the cross and desecration of major altars.
The Catholic hierarchy has kept silent about the episodes, limited themselves to highlighting that anti-Christian threat and expressing hope that politicians and police will get to the bottom of the crimes.
Reports indicate that 80 percent of the desecration of places of worship in France concerns Christian churches and in the year 2018 this meant the profanation of an average of two Christian churches per day in France, even though these actions rarely make the headlines.
In 2018, the Ministry of the Interior recorded 541 anti-Semitic acts, 100 anti-Muslim acts, and 1063 anti-Christian acts.