In Guadeloupe, the diocese denounces “attacks” against places of worship

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The Bishop of Guadeloupe Philippe Guiougou has denounced "serious attacks" against "several places of worship in the diocese" in recent days, referring to "desecrations", "break-ins" and "burglaries" which have been increasing for several months in this territory. 'Overseas.

“Individuals entered (...) using iron bars into the premises” of a parish in the town of Sainte-Anne, on Grande-Terre, and “took away a safe after forcing the door of the treasury", specifies in a press release published Thursday evening the diocese which filed the complaint.

The diocese also cites damage and a burglary recorded at the end of 2023 on this same part of the island.  

“In recent months, other acts of the same nature have been committed,” the text continues, citing in particular “successive burglaries, in a few weeks” in another parish in Grande-Terre, as well as the desecration of a chapel. Deterioration was also recorded in Basse-Terre.

In November 2022, the chapel of the Guadeloupe University Hospital had already been the subject of an arson attack, according to the diocese.

“These facts targeting our places of prayer, Eucharistic celebrations and contemplation cannot be trivialized,” warns Mgr Guiougou, describing the authors of these damages as “malicious people”.

Asked about the extent of the phenomenon, the gendarmerie spoke of "villainous" thefts and also reported desecration of graves, notably in the Unesco-listed cemetery of Morne-à-l'Eau, in Grande-Terre.

Faced with this damage, “the churches are closed outside of times of celebration,” explains Thierry Fundere, director of communications for the diocese. He notes a certain redundancy of these abuses during the carnival period, which is very festive in Guadeloupe. 

According to the diocese, which has 42 parishes, 80% of the population is Catholic in Guadeloupe. But, since the 1970s, evangelical Protestant churches, Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses have made a notable push and claim nearly 40.000 faithful for 70 recognized churches in Guadeloupe, according to their national council. 

Writing (with AFP)

Image credit: Shutterstock / Inga Locmele

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