The statue of the Archangel Saint-Michel from Sables-d'Olonne (Vendée), whose Council of State had requested the removal from public space, will be moved "a few meters" to a private plot, recently sold to the parish by the municipality, the mayor announced on Monday.
"The ayatollahs of secularism will have pushed our statue back a few meters, but they will have advanced our desire to defend our culture and our art of living", declared at a press conference the various right mayor, Yannick Moreau.
The statue will be moved "in September" to a 53m2 plot along the Saint-Michel church sold "about 3.000 euros" to the parish by the municipality, on which an access ramp for people with reduced mobility will also be installed.
The statue was previously installed at the front of the forecourt, on public land.
In December 2021, the administrative court of Nantes had agreed with the association La Libre Pensée which asked the municipality that this statue be moved out of the public space.
The decision was confirmed by the administrative court of appeal in September 2022 and then by the Council of State in April 2023.
"The handful of radical secularists will have their debunking but the will of the Sablais is respected because the statue of Saint-Michel will remain in its place, completely legally", affirmed Yannick Moreau, pointing to the "storm of + cancel culture +" or cancellation culture, which aims to "cancel" remarks deemed controversial and push their authors to apologize.
A consultation was organized in March 2022 on the fate of the statue, during which 94% of the 4.593 participants - for 45.000 inhabitants - voted for the maintenance of the statue in the public space.
Present in the city between 1935 and 2017 in the grounds of a private school, the statue had been moved on October 6, 2018 and installed on the new forecourt of the Saint-Michel church. Its installation had been the subject of a blessing by a Catholic priest.
The senior parish priest of Sables-d'Olonne, Father Antoine Nouwavi, was delighted at the press conference with the adoption of a solution putting "an end to the controversy".
The Editorial Board (with AFP)