Barely a day after the burial of the Rev. Jacques Hamel, a catholic priest killed by ISIS inspired teenagers, the tussle over St Rita’s demolition brings modern French Christianity to question.
St Rita’s Church demolition has been dragged for a while now. The French government intends to demolish the church building and replace it with a parking lot.
Parishioners of the Catholic church rejected the idea and reacted to it by conducting a sit-in protest inside the church.
As the Priest celebrated mass, troops of French police stormed the church and forced everyone out. Report says that about 30 protesters were removed by police.
A picture of the police dragging the priest on the floor went viral on the internet and have been condemned by many.
St Rita’s demolition according to report should have been done in October, 2015. On getting information that the destruction will finally take place on Wednesday, concerned patriots of the church barricaded themselves in the church.
St Rita is a catholic church located at 15th arrondissement, Paris. Catholic Herald confirms that the church was previously used “by the Gallican church, it has more recently been used by priests of the Institut du Bon-Pasteur which is in good standing with the Church”.
St Rita’s church is the pet church. It has become popular for its annual blessing of congregants’ pets which attracts hundreds of people.
French politicians and writers have taken to social media to register their dismay on the violation of the protester’s human and religious rights.
The death of Father Hamel and the recent St Rita’s demolition saga has given French Christians a cause to worry. This is considering the fact that France used to be a strong Christian nation with roots in Catholicism.
Report says that about 300 churches had been demolished between 1905 and 2014; courtesy of industrialization.
In 2015, over 40, 000 French citizens signed a “hands off my church” petition. This was done against the proposition by a Muslim leader that empty churches in France should be used as mosques.
It is a thing of interest for the people of the Catholic faith that the church in question is named after the patron saint of impossible cases- St Rita of Cascia. Perhaps this inspired the insistence to fight for the church by parishioners.
Between the death of Fr Hamel and St Rita’s demolition violence lies a striking similarity. The 2 separate incidences happened while at mass. Both scenarios give a spiritual undertone for the catholic faithfuls.
With all of these, many are convinced that this is nothing short of persecution of Christians.