Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Church and State Disagree Over Management of Religious Heritage in France

By Jerome Bernard
In 1964 the parish priest of Saint-Roch in Paris illegally sold the church's chandeliers to an antique dealer. The affair was hushed up by the administrator at the time Wiki Commons
In France, churches traditionally belong to the parishes in which they are located, but were placed at the disposal of the clergy by the 1905 law separating Church and State. This dual administration still causes problems for their maintenance and conservation. “A church is designed for worship, it should not be allowed to become a museum”; says Father Bernard Violle, a member of the diocesan commission for religious art in Paris. “The Church tends to assume that liturgical practice should have priority in a monument, we think the opposite”, says Maryvonne de Saint-Pulgent, head of the department dealing with the national heritage at the Ministry of Culture. [More]