Arson destroyed the Nativity scene of the Cathedral in Saint-Etienne last Friday night.The flames were partially extinguished with holy water.
It is obviously a deliberate fire that took place on Friday afternoon in the crèche of the Cathedral of Saint Charles. The events took place between 5:45 pm and 6:00 pm precisely, before the service in two places of the cathedral. One or more individuals set fire to the Christmas crib. The Faithful present managed to extinguish the flames with the water from the holy water font. Another fire was lit under the St Mary chapel.
This Saturday morning, alerted by social networks, many parishioners came to note the damage. The crèche is largely destroyed and some figures broken and charred.Some member of the large local Muslim population, shocked by the news, came to offer their help to clean up. Although upset, the Sexton of the Cathedral does not want to succumb to despair.
“I will immediately put the figurines in the middle of the crib with a huge bouquet of roses”.
In a statement, the mayor of the city Gaël Perdriau speaks this morning about “the desecration of a place of worship”. Gilles Artigue the borough chairman of the UDI [french political party, right center, Union of the Democrat and Independents] evokes an “act of vandalism”.
Predictably, the pro-immigration Bishop of Saint-Étienne tried to downplay the attacks:
“The gesture is painful but the act itself is quite limited in the sense that it is just the crib and the characters. It is the symbol of the crib which is particularly strong for us Christians at this time of Christmas. This may well be an act of silly youngsters, as it often happens, and then the nursery is a bit tempting: there is straw so we are going to set it on fire. Last year in my previous diocese we had the same situation … Perhaps a malicious act a little more serious? It’s going to be up to the police to define it, maybe with the cameras.In any case, it attracts attention, because there is this sensitivity in our country at this time, but concerning the motivation, I am not sure that the act has such a weight. ”
Most French Believers ARE sure the arson attacks do indeed have ‘weight’ and great significance. They know from long experience what it means when the authorities use the words ‘youths’ and ‘youngsters’ to describe the perpetrators of crime and mayhem.