Desecration of Christian Churches on the Rise

Country: France

Date of incident: February 25, 2010

Graffiti on church walls, destruction of religious art, and desecration of objects of worship becoming increasingly commonplace in France.

In France, desecration of Christian churches is on the rise. On February 26, vandals sprayed St. Donation’s Basilica with graffiti, including the sayings  “Burn your church”, “Burn the priests, freedom for the sorceresses”, and “Neither God nor master”.  Several days later, St. Clement’s Church of Nantes was targeted; at this church, a station of the cross was stolen, the hand of a statue of St. Peter broken off. A similar attack occurred at the cathedral of Nantes in June 2009, at which time a statue of General Lamoricière was covered in red paint. In and around Paris, the profanations are even more numerous. In the region of Essone, near the capital, there have been eight attacks on churches so far this year. One of the more severe attacks occurred on February 12th at St. Michael’s Church in Morangis, the tabernacle was broken into with hammers. Thieves stole a chalice, a ciborium, and a gold paten (all instruments of the Catholic liturgy.) Consecrated hosts, which are most holy to Catholics, were trampled on the ground. In an interview with the daily newspaper La Croix, Pascal Noury, mayor of Mourangis, refused to see in the crime an act of profanation: “No anti-Christian graffiti, no over-turned crucifix… It is not like an anti-Semitic tag on a Jewish tomb.” Bishop Michel Dubost of Evry responded by condemning “the silence on the desecration of churches”, denouncing at the same time the public authorities, whom he called “responsible for the act by their lack of action.”