French Activists Try to Save Empty Church

Marine Le Pen was among those who responded with anger on Twitter.

CHR Comment: The article describes the woes of Catholicism and Christianity generally in France as the nations many churches go empty and up for sale. Protesters hoped to prevent the sale of this church and to draw attention to the problems.

Source: Images of a priest being dragged from a condemned St. Rita church anger the French right – The Washington Post


Muslim Blasts Extremists at Friday Prayer with Christians

Muslims and Catholics joined in Friday prayers at the mosque in the Normandy town where an elderly priest was slain this week, with one imam chastising the extremists as non-Muslims who are “not part of civilization.”

CHR Comment: The article explains that the Catholics had sold the plot of land to the Muslims so that they could build a mosque. Moderate Muslims want to rebuild peaceful relations.

Source: Muslim blasts extremists at Friday prayer with Christians

Islamists Attack French Church, Slit Priest’s Throat

CHR Comment: The dramatic murder of Father Jacques Hamel at Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray in France while he was finishing mass illustrates the senseless brutality of ISIS inspired “soldiers.” Remarkably, the terrorists chose as their target an 84-year old man. The terrorism experienced by so many Near Eastern Christians continues to crop up in Europe and North America in 2016, illustrating desperate measures by devotees of the declining Islamic State. Father Hamel is rightly remembered as a martyr of the Christian Faith. Lord, have mercy.

I’ve added a more recent article below, which includes further information about the attack. And now a third article about ISIS.

Source: Islamists attack French church, slit priest’s throat | Reuters


How New Yorkers and Parisians Reacted Differently to Attacks on Their City

One priest who helped victims of the Paris attacks remembers his own experience helping communities in New York after 9/11.

CHR Comment: Rev. Jean-Christophe Bieselaar was a priest serving in New York City in 2001 and currently serves as a chaplain in Paris. He describes how Americans look to the Lord as a refuge in times of crisis whereas the French tend to ask why God allows terrible things to happen. New York churches were full in 2001, with people standing in line to enter. Church attendance in Paris has jumped but the response is not nearly as great as was seen in New York.

Source: How New Yorkers and Parisians reacted differently to attacks on their city | Public Radio International

Crowded Churches in Paris

On Sunday, with the city in a reflective mood, churches were packed, and many headed to the statue of Marianne, the symbol of the French Republic.

CHR Comment: As a modern, secularized nation, churches in France are normally nearly empty. According to Sara Miller Llana and Jason Walsh, churches were packed on Sunday with only standing room at the back. People were drawn to church, as well other public venues, in their search for meaning and comfort. One wonders whether the ideological clash between Islam and western freedom will lead to a renewal of church life, which teaches freedom through God’s forgiveness in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Source: In churches, plazas, playgrounds, Parisians find strength in gathering –