Paris, France, Jun 2, 2016 / 11:43 am America/Denver (CNA).
In recent weeks, Catholics in France and Belgium – countries still recovering from brutal ISIS attacks – have been hit with numerous acts of violence and aggression, including fires set in churches, an assault on a priest, the desecration of a tabernacle and the hacking of more than 100 Catholic websites.
In the French periodical La Provence, local priest Father Benoît Delabre reported that two weeks ago, the altar at the Church of St. Madeleine-de-l'Île was set fire in Martigues, about 800 kilometers south of Paris.
“The altar…is marble, which prevented the fire from spreading. I can't imagine what would have happened with a wooden altar. The consequences for our church would have been tragic.”
He also said that on May 15, another unknown person desecrated the tabernacle which contained the consecrated hosts in the church at Jonquières in the same region. Additionally, Father Delabre himself was attacked last Sunday by a man he caught at the church door who appeared to be “trying to steal something.”
“We know just how serious these attacks are on signs and persons because of their faith…The Catholic faith, its symbols and those that profess it, deserve to be respected just like every kind of religious expression that does not disturb the public order,” he said.