10 Churches in France Were Attacked in ONE Week in February Before Notre Dame

10 Catholic churches were attacked in one week shortly before Notre Dame fire

At least 10 churches in France were attacked in just ONE week in the months before the devastating Notre Dame fire.

The seven day spree of vandalism last February sparked fears of a coming wave of anti-Christian persecution across the country.

Express.co.uk reports: Senseless acts included the desecration of altars, the defacing of Christ on the cross and in an extreme case, human excrement being spread across the walls of a holy place of worship.

According to the outlet, one of the first attacks was on February 4 at St. Nicholas Catholic Church in Houilles, Yvelines, where a statue of the Virgin Mary was found smashed on the ground.

The same church also had the altar cross thrown to the ground and the celebrant’s chair was damaged.

On February 5, an altar cloth was found burnt and crosses and statues torn down or disfigured at the recently refurbished Saint-Alain Cathedral in Lavaur, in south-central France.

The fire was found early by a parish secretary and did not spread – but the altar and adjacent walls were badly damaged by smoke.

Following the incident, local district deputy Jean Terlier said in a statement: “I strongly condemn the vandalism of Lavaur Cathedral and I share the outrage aroused by this intolerable act.”

And Lavaur city mayor Bernard Canyon said: “God will forgive. Not me.”

On February 6, just a day after the Saint-Alain Cathedral incident, vandals at Notre-Dame des Enfants (Our Lady of the Children) church in Nimes broke into the tabernacle and scattered altar hosts on the ground.

According to local news reports, the vandals also drew a cross on the wall with human excrement and damaged other religious items in the church.

Bishop Robert Wattebled of Nimes said of the senseless attack: “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.”

Day later, on February 9, a similar attack occurred at the Church of Notre-Dame de Dijon, Côte-d’Or, about 175 miles south-east of Paris.

The tabernacle was opened and the Eucharist scattered, while the altar cloth was soiled and a sacred missal was torn.

According to La Bien Public, Notre-Dame Father Emmanuel Pic believed the vandals wanted to show anger towards the “heart of the Catholic faith” as nothing of monetary value was stolen.

Father Pic said: “Nothing of value has been broken, but it is the intent that is very shocking. This is what characterizes profanity.”

And on February 10, St Nicolas in Houilles was subjected to another attack six days after the first mindless act of vandalism.

According to the Observatory on Intolerance and Discrimination Against Christians in Europe, the tabernacle was found thrown on the ground. However, a 35-year-old man later confessed to committing the act to police.

It is unclear if the attacks are related, but police investigations into the wave of attacks are ongoing.

In a statement to Twitter on February 13, Prime Minister Edouard Phillipe voices his outrage at the attacks ahead of a meeting with Catholic bishops from across the country.

Mr Phillipe wrote: “In one week, in France, 5 degraded churches. In our secular Republic, places of worship are respected. Such acts shock me and must be unanimously condemned. I will tell the bishops of France at the meeting of the forum of dialogue with the Catholic Church,” he said.

The fresh wave of attacks come two years a campaign of Christian persecution against Catholic churches across France and Belgium in 2016.

The incidents were said to be carried out by the Islamic State (IS).

One of the most gruesome attacks included the murder of Fr. Jacques Hamel, who was killed by jihadists while holding Mass at a church in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray in Normandy.