CBN | Christian Ellis | Apr. 16, 2019
Across Europe, there has been a growing rise in attacks on churches. Countries like France and Germany have seen a spike in violent vandalism, desecrating cherished churches and Christian symbols in recent months and years.
According to the German news site PI-News, every day in France, two churches are desecrated. They report 1,063 attacks on Christian churches or symbols like crucifixes, icons, and statues in France in 2018, marking a 17 percent increase from the year before.
The Middle East Forum reports that attacks on Catholic churches in France since the start of the year have included smashed statues, broken crosses, and demolished tabernacles.
Recently, the historic Church of St. Sulpice in Paris was set on fire after a midday service on Sunday.
It was the second attack in a month after the St. Nicholas Catholic Church in Houilles found their statue of the Virgin Mary destroyed and the altar cross on the ground.
In February, at Saint-Alain Cathedral in Lavaur, congregants found their altar cloth burned and the church’s crosses and statues of saints broken. And in the city of Nimes, individuals vandalized the church of Notre-Dame des Enfants (Our Lady of the Children) and smeared a cross with human excrement according to Newsweek.
In a statement to a local paper, The Tablet, Bishop Robert Wattebled of Nimes said, “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 continued.
According to The Tablet, a record 47 documented attacks on churches and religious sites were reported in February alone.
“I think there is a rising hostility in France against the church and its symbols,” stated Ellen Fantini, executive director of Observatory of Intolerance and Discrimination Against Christians in Europe. “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.” she added. “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.”