Friday, April 5, 2019

Vandals and Arsonists

From Crux:
Vandals and arsonists have targeted French churches in a wave of attacks that has lasted nearly two months. More than 10 churches have been hit since the beginning of February, with some set on fire while others were severely desecrated or damaged. St. Sulpice, the second-largest church in Paris, after Notre Dame Cathedral, had the large wooden door on its southern transept set ablaze March 17. Investigators confirmed March 18 that the fire was started deliberately, according to the website of the Vienna-based Observatory on Intolerance and Discrimination Against Christians in Europe, an independent organization founded with the help of the Council of European Bishops’ Conferences.

In early February, in the Church of Notre-Dame-des-Enfants in Nimes, near the Spanish border, intruders drew a cross on a wall with excrement then stuck consecrated hosts to it. The tabernacle was broken and other consecrated hosts were destroyed, prompting Bishop Robert Wattebled of Nimes to issue a statement Feb. 8 to say that the desecration was so severe that the church building could not be used until penitential rites of purification had been carried out. Carmelites, Cistercians and Poor Clares of the diocese offered fasting and prayer to atone for the desecration, and the rite of penance and purification occurred Feb. 13.

In a statement posted on the diocesan website to mark the occasion, Wattebled said purification was necessary because “the deepest meaning of the church … has been for a moment abused, scorned and profaned,” adding that the penitential rite did not absolve the perpetrators of their culpability. Wattebled noted there had been a surge in attacks against Jewish sites throughout France. Likewise, the attacks on the churches have been carried out across the country. (Read more.)

From Crisis:
For many decades we’ve heard that Christianity in Europe is “in decline.” But recently the decline seems to have accelerated. Hostility to Christianity is now so widespread that it’s no exaggeration to speak of a war on Christians. In fact, “Britain’s War on Christianity,” happens to be the title of a recent 14-page article by Soeren Kern of the Gatestone Institute
In his detailed report, the first of a three-part series, Kern describes numerous incidents of Christian street preachers who were arrested for disturbing the peace. Tellingly, the police most commonly cited them either for Islamophobic hate speech or for homophobic hate speech. 
When, after one such arrest, London’s Muslim mayor was pressed as to whether Christians could openly read from the Bible without fear of arrest, Sadiq Khan replied, “There’s not an unlimited right to freedom of expression or free speech.” Meanwhile, it was revealed that in 2016 the Home Office had rejected a request for asylum from an Iranian convert to Christianity on the grounds that Christianity is not a religion of peace. After quoting violent texts from the Bible, the rejection letter stated: “These examples are inconsistent with your claim that you converted to Christianity after discovering it is a ‘peaceful’ religion…” (Read more.) 

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