Villages Without Church Towers?

Source: FSSPX News


For the moment, such operations still remain unthinkable in France. To provide for its needs, the Muslim community prefers to finance the building of new edifices. And on the Christian side, the taboo remains powerful. “A Catholic church is made for Catholic worship,” Bishop Claude Dagens, of Angoulême recalled recently.

Confronted with hundreds of disused churches because of the drop in religious practice, another taboo has nevertheless been broken: townships have decided to pull down village churches because of lack of money to  insure their upkeep. Throughout France, a dozen of them are directly threatened with destruction and some townships have already implemented their decision. (…)

Thousands of rural townships, responsible for the upkeep of places of worship built prior to the 1905 Law of Separation of Church and State, are wondering about their ability to preserve this patrimony. (…)

The “Observatoire du Patrimoine Religieux” (OPR), an association created lately and which actively militates for the preservation of churches, thinks that “an important number of the 100,000 religious buildings is running the risk of escheating within the next thirty years.” Out of all the French cultual patrimony, “only” 13,000 buildings have been classified as historic monuments, according to the Ministry of Culture.

OPR is trying to gain popular support for a subject they know to be dear to the French. A survey, published last September by the weekly Pèlerin, showed that 67% of the persons surveyed thought that we should try “to preserve as many churches as possible.” In some places, like in Arc-sur-Tille (Côte d’Or) the problem is giving rise to an endless juridical battle between the mayor, who has decided the destruction of the church, and a local association of defense of the patrimony. Yet, the church has been in disuse for twenty years. (…) (Stéphanie Le Bars, excerpts from an article in Le Monde of November 8, 2007)