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Old 04-15-2019, 05:08 PM
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Default Regardless if "accident," Notre Dame fire is just LATEST incidents of deliberate arson, vandalism...

Notre Dame fire follows months of arson, vandalism & desecration of French Catholic churches

Published time: 15 Apr, 2019 19:33
Edited time: 15 Apr, 2019 23:37

Link: https://www.rt.com/news/456629-frenc...rches-attacks/

© REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

While the world watched in horror at Paris’ historic Notre Dame Cathedral erupting in flames Monday, the fire is only the latest in a series of incidents that have left social media awash in images of heavily damaged churches.

France has been hit with a string of fires at Catholic churches, some of which occurred alongside desecration of sacred objects and acts of vandalism. While the fire at Notre Dame appears to be an accident connected to renovations of the church, the image of the famous spire engulfed in flames is a hard hit on the historically deeply Catholic France, as well as Catholics all over who have seen their religion reeling from devastating scandals, cover-ups and attacks.

Also on rt.com Historic Saint-Sulpice church burns in Paris (VIDEO)
While Notre Dame is undoubtedly the most well-known landmark to be affected, Paris’ second largest church, Saint-Sulpice, briefly burst into flames on March 17, the fire damaging doors and stained glass windows on the building's exterior. Police later reported that the incident had not been an accident.

“The images of flames in Saint Sulpice church this weekend are one more example of the violence committed against Catholics,” said Philippe Gosselin and Annie Genevard of France’s National Assembly, tying the incident into a wider trend of attacks on Catholic places of worship.

February saw a series of such attacks across France. In one incident, a cross of human excrement was smeared on the wall of the Notre Dame des Enfants in Nimes, the vandals also looting the church and spreading consecrated wafers in the garbage.

The same month, the altar at Saint-Alain Cathedral in Lavaur was set on fire, while statues and crosses were smashed throughout the premises. Two teenagers were later arrested in relation to the incident.

Also on rt.com Catholic churches in France vandalized, set on fire & smeared with excrement (PHOTOS, VIDEO)
In another incident on February 4, a statue of the Virgin Mary was found smashed on the ground at St. Nicholas Catholic Church in Houilles, Yvelines. Just days later, the Eucharist was scattered and the altar cloth soiled at Church of Notre Dame de Dijon.

Also on rt.com Notre Dame fire news
The attacks come at a time when the Church is hurting for sympathy, enwrapped in child sex abuse scandals that have left even the pope declaring “all out battle” on criminal clergy.
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Old 04-15-2019, 05:51 PM
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Default Re: Regardless if "accident," Notre Dame fire is just LATEST incidents of deliberate arson, vandalis

Catholic Churches Are Being Desecrated Across France—and Officials Don’t Know Why

By Brendan Cole On 3/21/19 at 9:04 AM EDT

Link: https://www.newsweek.com/spate-attac...statue-1370800

France has seen a spate of attacks against Catholic churches since the start of the year, vandalism that has included arson and desecration.

Vandals have smashed statues, knocked down tabernacles, scattered or destroyed the Eucharist and torn down crosses, sparking fears of a rise in anti-Catholic sentiment in the country.

Last Sunday, the historic Church of St. Sulpice in Paris was set on fire just after midday mass on Sunday, Le Parisien reported, although no one was injured. Police are still investigating the attack, which firefighters have confidently attributed to arson.

RELATED: Everything we know about the devastating fire at the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris

Built in the 17th century, St. Sulpice houses three works by the Romantic painter Eugene de la Croix, and was used in the movie adaptation of The Da Vinci Code, by Dan Brown.

Notre Dame cathedral

Police officers patrol Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, on September 10. French churches have been targeted by vandals in a spate of attacks since the start of the year.

Last month, at the St. Nicholas Catholic Church in Houilles, in north-central France, a statue of the Virgin Mary was found smashed, and the altar cross had been thrown on the ground, according to La Croix International, a Catholic publication.

Also in February, at Saint-Alain Cathedral in Lavaur, in south-central France, an altar cloth was burned and crosses and statues of saints were smashed. The attack prompted Lavaur Mayor Bernard Canyon to say in a statement: “God will forgive. Not me.”

And in the southern city of Nimes, near the Spanish border, vandals looted the altar of the church of Notre-Dame des Enfants (Our Lady of the Children) and smeared a cross with human excrement.

Consecrated hosts made from unleavened bread, which Catholics believe to be the body of Jesus Christ, were taken and found scattered among rubbish outside the building.

Bishop Robert Wattebled of Nimes said in a statement: “This greatly affects our diocesan community. The sign of the cross and the Blessed Sacrament have been the subject of serious injurious actions.

“This act of profanation hurts us all in our deepest convictions,” he added, according to The Tablet, which reported that in February alone there had been a record 47 documented attacks on churches and religious sites.

The Vienna-based Observatory of Intolerance and Discrimination Against Christians in Europe, which was founded in cooperation with the Council of European Bishops Conferences (CCEE) but is now independent said there had been a 25 percent increase in attacks on Catholic churches in the first two months of the year, compared with the same time last year.

Its executive director, Ellen Fantini, told Newsweek that while in many cases the motive for the attacks was not known, France faced growing problems with anti-Christian violence, especially by anarchist and feminist groups.

“I think there is a rising hostility in France against the church and its symbols," but "it seems to be more against Christianity and the symbols of Christianity.

“These attacks are on symbols that are really sacred to parishioners, to Catholics. Desecration of consecrated hosts is a very personal attack on Catholicism and Christianity, more than spray-painting a slogan on the outside wall of a church.”

She said that while France had a long tradition of secularism, it was seen as a culturally Christian country, and so any "attack on the church as a symbol of religion was also an attack on authority and patrimony.

"The pressure is coming from the radical secularists or anti-religion groups as well as feminist activists who tend to target churches as a symbol of the patriarchy that needs to be dismantled," she added.

On February 9, the altar at the church of Notre-Dame in Dijon, the capital of the Burgundy region, was also broken into. The hosts were taken from the tabernacle, which adorns the altar at the front of the church, and scattered on the ground.

Last month, the Prime Minister Edouard Phillipe met French church leaders and said in a statement: “In our secular Republic, places of worship are respected. Such acts shock me and must be unanimously condemned.”

Senior Figures within the French Catholic Church expressed their sorrow at the rise in attacks on symbols of their faith.

Last month, the secretary general of the Bishops’ Conference, Olivier Ribadeau-Dumas, told France Culture that desecration of a church was not the same as a common burglary.

“To open the tabernacle, to take the hosts and to profane what for us is the basis of our faith, that is to say the presence of Jesus Christ in the hosts is something that is terrible for us.”

Update: This article has been updated to more accurately reflect the transubstantiation belief of the Catholic Church. It also clarifies that the Observatory of Intolerance and Discrimination Against Christians is now an independent organization from the Council of European Bishops Conferences.
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