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Notre Dame fire follows months of arson, vandalism & desecration of French Catholic churches Notre Dame fire hits after several cases of vandalism against French Catholic churches
(about 13 hours later)
While the world watched in horror at Paris’ historic Notre Dame Cathedral erupting in flames Monday, the fire is only the latest in a series of incidents that have left social media awash in images of heavily damaged churches. The world watched in horror at Paris’ historic Notre Dame Cathedral erupting in flames Monday. The fire is the latest in a series of troubles that have plagued Catholic churches in France in the last several months.
France has been hit with a string of fires at Catholic churches, some of which occurred alongside desecration of sacred objects and acts of vandalism. While the fire at Notre Dame appears to be an accident connected to renovations of the church, the image of the famous spire engulfed in flames is a hard hit on the historically deeply Catholic France, as well as Catholics all over who have seen their religion reeling from devastating scandals, cover-ups and attacks. Some of those incidents were acts of vandalism, unlike the fire at Notre Dame, which appears to be an accident connected to renovations of the church.
While Notre Dame is undoubtedly the most well-known landmark to be affected, Paris’ second largest church, Saint-Sulpice, briefly burst into flames on March 17, the fire damaging doors and stained glass windows on the building's exterior. Police later reported that the incident had not been an accident. The image of the famous spire engulfed in flames is a hard hit to the historically deeply Catholic France.  While Notre Dame is undoubtedly the most well-known landmark to be affected, Paris’ second largest church, Saint-Sulpice, briefly burst into flames on March 17, with fire damaging doors and stained glass windows on the building’s exterior. Police later reported that the fire had not been “an accident.”
“The images of flames in Saint Sulpice church this weekend are one more example of the violence committed against Catholics,” said Philippe Gosselin and Annie Genevard of France’s National Assembly, tying the incident into a wider trend of attacks on Catholic places of worship. In February, a cross of human excrement was smeared on the wall of the Notre Dame des Enfants in Nimes. The vandals also looted the church and threw consecrated wafers in the garbage.
February saw a series of such attacks across France. In one incident, a cross of human excrement was smeared on the wall of the Notre Dame des Enfants in Nimes, the vandals also looting the church and spreading consecrated wafers in the garbage. The same month, the altar at Saint-Alain Cathedral in Lavaur was set on fire, while statues and crosses were smashed throughout the premises. Two teenagers were later arrested.
The same month, the altar at Saint-Alain Cathedral in Lavaur was set on fire, while statues and crosses were smashed throughout the premises. Two teenagers were later arrested in relation to the incident. In another incident on February 4, a statue of the Virgin Mary was found smashed on the ground at St. Nicholas Catholic Church in Houilles, Yvelines. Just days later, the Eucharist was scattered and the altar cloth soiled at the Church of Notre Dame de Dijon.
In another incident on February 4, a statue of the Virgin Mary was found smashed on the ground at St. Nicholas Catholic Church in Houilles, Yvelines. Just days later, the Eucharist was scattered and the altar cloth soiled at Church of Notre Dame de Dijon. There is no evidence that the devastation at Notre Dame was anything but accidental, though the near-destruction of the iconic cathedral has put a tragic focus on the previous months’ events.
The attacks come at a time when the Church is hurting for sympathy, enwrapped in child sex abuse scandals that have left even the pope declaring “all out battle” on criminal clergy.
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