There is no official data on the number of Catholic churches set on fire, however, according to the French Ministry of the Interior, there were 1,063 instances of “anti-Christian” acts in 2019.
The figures for 2017 and 2018 were not much better. This means that on average, there are three such acts every day that equate to vandalism, desecration or fire. There were 877 acts that damaged church property and 129 robberies in 2018 alone.
Most of the 32 recorded fires in 2018 were acts of arson.
Churches in France have been set on fire or desecrated for years, and 2018 saw church arons saw fires raging in Millau, Toulouse, Nancy, and Paris.
In 2019, the year began with an arson in the Alsace and Grenoble churches as well as a fire at the Lavaur Cathedral in Tarn. Only thanks to a speedy intervention by firefighters did the Saint-Sulpice church in Paris manage to survive.
The Notre Dame Cathedral wasn’t so lucky.