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Average of three churches in France desecrated per day

French churches have become the target of vandals and criminals with an average of almost three churches targetted for vandalism per day over the past three years.

Published: March 31, 2019, 9:56 am

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    French daily Le Figaro reported on figures of the Central Criminal Intelligence Service (SCRC) of the gendarmerie noting that from 2016 to 2018 there had been thousands of cases of church vandalism, spiking in 2017 with 1 045 cases.

    According to the French Ministry of the Interior, these figures do not include attacks on cemeteries and other sites. If those are included, the number of acts of vandalism rose to 1 063 in 2018.

    In 2019, in one week alone France saw twelve churches vandalised, including attackers attempting to set fire to the church of Saint-Sulpice in Paris. In Nimes, vandals smeared faeces on the wall of the church of Notre-Dame des Enfants. Objects from the altar were also stolen.

    Thefts of religious objects have increased since 2016, rising from 121 to 129 in 2018. According to the gendarmes, the robberies are mostly opportunistic because churches are often an easy target. A chalice can be sold for anything between 200 to 2 000 euros.

    A dozen Catholic churches have been desecrated across France over the period of one week in an egregious case of anti-Christian vandalism. This month, the Basilica of Saint-Denis was vandalised, with the basilica’s organ damaged and stained glass windows broken.

    French authorities arrested a pair of Romanian migrants last year who were suspected to be behind a number of church thefts in both Paris and the suburbs of the city. The pair had allegedly stolen up to 70 000 euros worth of property.

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