The number of officially recorded anti-Christian incidents in France has risen by 285 percent between 2008 and 2019, according to Ellen Fantini, director of the Vienna-based Observatory on Intolerance and Discrimination Against Christians in Europe (OIDACE).
“Most European countries do not provide statistics about anti-Christian incidents. Many don’t even record them as such. Another problem is that many church officials don’t even report incidents — they just sort of get on with it: clean up and move on,” she told CNA.
Since 2010, the Paris-based L’Observatoire de la Christianophobie (Observatory of Christianophobia) has chronicled anti-Christian incidents in France and around the world. It has recorded these events month by month on interactive maps since 2017, placing them in six categories: arson, murder/assault, vandalism, theft, bombing, and abduction.
Following fire at Nantes, the organization has reported several less well-publicized incidents, including the destruction of a crucifix on the Île-d’Arz in Brittany, the slashing of paintings in a church in Auxerre, and the decapitation of a statue of the Virgin Mary in Montaud.
Statistics suggest there are nearly three such attacks a day in France, which is sometimes described as the “eldest daughter of the Church” because the Frankish King Clovis I embraced Catholicism in 496.