Jon Rogers, The Sun (UK), April 6, 2019
Churches across France have been set on fire and poo smeared on walls as the country’s Christian heritage is said to be under attack from “militant secularism”.
Recent incidents have included a fire in Saint-Sulpice church in Paris, human poo daubed on a wall in Notre-Dame-des-Enfacts in Nimes, and an organ vandalised at Saint-Denis basilica outside Paris.
Cops said the fire at Saint-Sulpice had been started deliberately
Some politicians have claimed the country’s Christian heritage is under threat from petty criminals encouraged by “militant secularism”.
Figures released by French police showed that 875 of France’s 42,258 churches were vandalised last year.
A further 129 churches reported thefts from the premises.
The interior ministry said that 59 cemeteries were also vandalised.
While the figures are down on the previous year when there were 1,045 acts of vandalism and 109 thefts they are still at a “worrying level”, according to Le Figaro.
Republicans MP Valerie Boyer said: “Every day, at least two churches are profaned.”
Critics of Prime Minister Edouard Philippe’s government have said it is not doing enough to stop the problem.
Following the fire at Saint-Sulpice, which cops say was started deliberately, the leader of the Republicans Laurent Wauquiez said the media had failed to give the issue more prominence.
He said: “Saint-Sulpice is not only a church, it’s a part of who we are. That’s enough of this code of silence.”
Opposition MPs Annie Genevard and Philippe Gosselin have called for a parliamentary investigation into anti-Christian acts in France.
Bishops have tended to play down the extent of the vandalism, with some pointing out that their problems are less severe than those of French Jews who have suffered from a rise in antisemitisim in recent months.
Historian Francois Huguenin, said that while only about five percent of French people were practising Catholics, the church still remained the depository of social markers. It is therefore more difficult for [Christians] to express indignation than it is for other communities”.