France’s churches are increasingly the target of a degree of vandalism far more vicious than can be explained by the resentment and envy motivating mere graffiti or broken windows. What is in the heart of a young person when they go to the trouble of wreaking such large-scale destruction to the objects so representative of an adult’s faith in the promise of a better future?
Translated by myself, a no-longer-unusual story from Angers:
An older story of church vandalism, involving the decapitation of a Madonna, here.
Located in the heart of downtown Angers, Saint-Joseph church was targeted yesterday [January 30]. It was the former parish priest who discovered the sad tableau: “Passing through Angers, he came to visit the church with members of his family, reported father Michel Fromont, the current priest….
Inside the church, vandals were especially active in the chancel: the little wooden altar, which serves for weekly Mass, was overturned. The tabernacle was ripped out “even though it was cemented into the wall”, said father Fromont. The vandals even tried to break it open it once it was on the ground, in the middle of shattered vases. The baptismal font lost its water once it was knocked over. And the principal altar cloths were thrown onto the ground.
Closed at night, the church doesn’t open its doors until 9:00 am. In order to avoid being surprised by visitors, the vandals acted in the morning, between 9:00 am and noon, after having gained access through the main entrance. For father Fromont, these acts are “not petty”. “This isn’t benches or chairs that were broken, but very meaningful religious objects.” Not to mention that there “already had been incidents here”.Beyond the overturned crosses, the priest mentions a video, filmed in the church, broadcast over the internet. A short amateur film showing youths skateboarding in the church, sitting on the altar, or joking in the confessional. “We weren’t aware of it, but someone alerted us to it after having seen it online, among other videos of a gothic style.” This was several months ago. At that time, no complaints were made. But yesterday’s actions have changed that. Father Fromont has passed along the security video that he had, to the police.
[Thanks to Le Salon Beige]