A church in a little town in the suburbs of Paris was vandalised on Sunday, Feb. 10. The Roman Catholic church is the ninth Christian place of worship to be desecrated in just eleven days with a series of vandalisms being reported across the country.
It was the priest at St. Nicolas church in Houilles who noticed the damage and informed the authorities. He reported that the church’s tabernacle had been thrown to the ground and the paten, which is used in communion, had been moved.
It is the fourth time that St. Nicolas church has been attacked in a period of ten days.
On Feb. 4, a statue representing a Madonna with Child dating from the nineteenth century was “completely pulverized” and “irreparable,” the priest told local media.
This acts of vandalism were quickly condemned by prefect for France’s Yvelines department Jean-Jacques Brot. He expressed his “strong condemnation of the untolerable actions of desecration.”
“It is an attack on the freedom of worship because we are attacking what is the heart of belief,” he added.
At other attacks, feces were spread on the walls of a church in the southern French city of Nîmes, while a fire was ignited at St. Alain Cathedral in Lavaur.
Hier, une personne a mis le feu à l' autel d' une des chapelles de notre #cathédrale Saint-Alain de @VilledeLavaur et renversé un #Christ .
Dieu pardonnera. Pas moi. #tarn #Occitanie pic.twitter.com/MfY5SEAVPQ
— Bernard Carayon (@BernardCarayon) February 6, 2019
“Yesterday, someone ignited a fire on one of our Chapel’s altar at St. Alain’s Church and throw down a Christ figure. God will forgive, but I won’t,” Bernard Carayon posted on Twitter.
The police arrested two teenagers in Lavaur after reviewing footage from the street’s surveillance camera.
Far-left and anarchist slogans, such as “class war” and “No God, No Masters,” were found scribbled on the damaged churches.
Tristesse de la communauté catholique diocésaine et de la paroisse Dijon-Notre-Dame en particulier: profanation de l’église ce matin. Messe de réparation présidée par l’archevêque ce samedi à 17h30. @Lebienpublic @RCFDijon @F3Bourgogne Merci pour vos RT. pic.twitter.com/n9CG2KKtNr
— Diocese de Dijon (@DiocesedeDijon) February 9, 2019
“Sadness is upon the Catholic community of Notre-Dame of Dijon church this morning. A mass will be held at 5.30 p.m with Archeveque,” the Dijon Dioceses posted on Twitter.
According to police, the acts of vandalism have been isolated but are occurring in a climate of violence against religion.
France’s prime minister, Edouard Philippe, also condemned anti-Semitic acts that have been seen across the country on Feb. 12. Government statistics reported an alarming 74 percent rise in incidents targeting Jews over the last year. French authorities registered 311 incidents of anti-Semitism in 2017 compared to 541 in 2018.
“These acts are disgusting,” Philippe said in Parliament.
“I share this anger … in the face of more and more acts, which are targeting people or places … anti-Semitic acts against the memory of Ilan Halimi, anti-Semitic acts against the memory of Simone Veil, slogans placed here and there, on this or that sign,” he added.
Philippe and France’s security minister didn’t comment on the rise of anti-Christian desecration acts, though.