France: St. Martin in the Fields Church Targeted by a Molotov Cocktail

January 24, 2023

Located in the 10th arrondissement of Paris, the Saint-Martin-des-Champs church was built in the middle of the 19th century, under the Second Empire. The building, intended to be only temporary, was erected in two years and, to keep the cost low, with a timber frame. In 1933, a bell tower was added.

It was the Archbishop of Paris, Marie Dominique Auguste Sibour, who undertook this construction, and entrusted it to one of his priests, Fr. Bruyère. The latter raised funds by subscriptions from the inhabitants of the district, which he supplemented with a significant personal donation.

The archbishop canonically erected the parish on January 31, 1856 and came the same day to bless the church and install Fr. Bruyère as its first parish priest. Msgr. Sibour died a year later, on January 3, 1857, assassinated by an unbalanced priest, in the church of Saint-Etienne-du-Mont.

Anti-Catholic acts, in particular against churches, have an annoying tendency of multiplying. On January 10, St. Louis the King Church, in Champagne-au-Mont-d'Or, in the diocese of Lyon, was desecrated in this way:

“The objects present in the church (candles, books, vases, etc.) were thrown to the ground. The nativity scene installed in front of the altar was turned over and damaged. The Stations of the Cross and the paintings in the choir were essentially destroyed, as well as two large crucifixes,” detailed Fr. Charcosset, when announcing the suspension sine die of religious services.

On Wednesday, January 18, 2023, the door of the St. Martin in the Fields Church was targeted by an incendiary device around 5 a.m. and was largely burned. If the reader has been attentive to the beginning of this article he will remember that the church is built of wood, even if the beams had been covered with stucco. The risk of destruction by fire is therefore high.

A report published in January 2022 noted an increase in anti-religious acts in France, both in their number and in the seriousness of these acts, with people being increasingly targeted.