Rome Newsroom, Mar 11, 2021 / 12:00 pm
Demolition work is underway on a 135-year-old church dedicated to St. Joseph in northern France -- the first of several church demolitions that could take place in the country in the coming months.
The Chapelle Saint-Joseph, built by the Jesuits in Lille between 1880 and 1886, is being bulldozed by the Catholic University of Lille to make way for a new student building, while the nearby Rameau Palace designed by the same architect, Auguste Mourou, is being preserved and restored.
A group appealed to the French Ministry of Culture to reclassify the church building as historical, but this appeal was rejected by the ministry, which stressed that “giving up the demolition of the chapel would lead to the abandonment of an important project for the development of higher education, which represents an investment of 120 million euros.”
Urgence Patrimoine, an organization that works to preserve French cultural heritage, collected 12,400 signatures on a petition to save the St. Joseph chapel, but the demolition process, captured on video, began in late February regardless.