Cathedral in Nantes (Western France) vandalised with Nazi symbols

The cathedral of Saint Peter and Saint Paul in Nantes (Western France)

Agence France Presse reports that the Saint Peter’s cathedral in Nantes was vandalised last night, with “symbols of a Nazi type”, according to the prefect of the Loire-Atlantique department, Christian de Lavernée. “The damages affect the sacred part of the chorus as well as the oldest altar at the back of the chorus,” he added.

This latest incident of sacrilege against churches in France comes amid a heated controversy around the death of a young left-wing activist, Clément Méric, during a fight with skinheads, as well as recent demonstrations against homosexual marriage by conservatives, notably Catholic believers.

According to the prefect, “the signs are mixed: there is a 666 (Satan’s number) and some Nazi symbols, a bust of Fermen, as well as some stickmen in the style of (the emblem of) the anti-gay marriage protest movement Manif pour tous.” He said the act was “deplorable”.

The facts were discovered this morning at 8h15. There was a break-in by means of the high part of the scaffolding” which is being used at the moment along the facade, he explained and “the doors on the ground floor were cracked”. Obscene inscriptions and a broken statue were visible inside, as well as angels with sex organs and little Hitler’s moustaches, someone indicated who had had access to the interior of the cathedral.

Cathedral closed for tourists

“The church does not wish to add oil to the fire,” stated the general vicar of the Nantes diocese, Father Benoît Bertrand, who “condemned this act. We want to appeal to calm and to responsibility.”

At the cathedral several offficials from the police’s forensic department were busy with investigations and banned anyone from entering. An inquiry has been opened by the prosecution under the departmental sûreté of Nantes. The first deputy mayor of the municipality of Nantes, Johanna Rolland (Socialist Party) was also present and condemned the incident “in the strongest possible terms”. For the moment, the monetary value of the damages have not been established, according to the prefect.
The cathedral will be closed for several days for tourists but will be open for religious services.