France: Increasing number of thefts in the churches

Source: FSSPX News


On Sunday, October 24, in the middle of the “Paris All Saints 2004” congress, thieves taking advantage of the opening of Notre-Dame d’Auteuil parish (16th arrondissement) stole a bust of the Virgin of Carpeaux (XIXth century), a statue estimated at 50,000 euros. The next day, care-takers came to assess the crime and “take measures”. “All this belongs to the City of Paris”, explained the superintendent of the parish, Gérard Caillaud, who added: “the perpetrator knew where the statue was and its value”. It was the City of Paris, the proprietor of goods, who made the complaint.

This last theft joins an already long list of religious objects, which have disappeared from the diocese. On October 16, at Saint-Merri (4th district), a painting of the 17th century, The Preaching of St. Peter, valued at 35,000 euros, was stolen. In August, it was a Resurrection of Lazarus by Joseph-Marie Vien, dating from the 18th century, which disappeared. The works stolen are often major pieces of the religious patrimony. These thefts would seem to be the result of professionals operating within a network.

Several meetings took place in October between personnel of the mayor’s office of Paris and the archdiocese. “We will take the necessary measures to ensure a better security in the religious buildings”, said Bertrand de Feydeau, general director of the economic affairs of the diocese of Paris. In addition, a new computerized inventory of the roughly 30,000 pieces of the religious patrimony of Paris is being created. They also mention a tracking system – which the creators preferred not to discuss – which would permit the finding of the art objects.