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

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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 – CSMonitor.com