I saw this video on Facebook this morning:

2800 churches could be destroyed in France in the next 10 years according to current trends.

Catholicism is weakened from inside and outside, islam is booming because of petro-dollars and islamic immigration.

"France will not be France anymore if there will be more mosques than churches" said a leading politician a few years ago...

One doesn't need to be religious at all to find this quite upsetting, I guess. These are old buildings and they are valuable for obvious reasons.

Is this video real at all? What happened exactly here? Why is this old church being destroyed? Did it happen in France?

  • 14
    Does "A video on facebook" count as a notable source? What are their sources for this? I ate one cookie in the past minute; "current trends" would see me having consumed half the country's current cookie supply in the next ten years. Mar 13, 2017 at 7:56
  • I did find washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2016/08/03/… that sound something like the claim.
    – liftarn
    Mar 13, 2017 at 8:15
  • @SVilcans very, very, very vaguely related, and even if it's the same church it refutes the implications more than it substantiates them. Mar 13, 2017 at 9:05
  • 3
    As a technicality churches are not usually demolished at all. Rather they are deconsecrated. The remaining building might or might not be torn down afterwards, but that is not a church anymore.
    – user21930
    Mar 13, 2017 at 19:48
  • 1
    "valuable for obvious reasons" [citation needed]
    – 410 gone
    Apr 20, 2017 at 8:07

2 Answers 2


From the link posted by @SVilcans:

Fewer than 300 churches had been demolished between 1905 and 2014, the Catholic newspaper La Croix reported, out of more than 42,000 in total.

From the La Croix article, translated via Google:

According to Benoît de Sagazan, author of Patrimoine en blog, 28 churches have been demolished since 2000 - mostly in former industrial districts, with a peak (six) in 2013, which could explain the revived sensitivity of the French.

So, yes, sometimes churches are being demolished for a variety of reasons (including lack of maintenance, failing structures, dwindling attendance, or financial problems of the owner), but there is no basis to claim a "[current trend that] 2800 churches could be destroyed in the next 10 years", at least not without some major statistics mumbo-jumbo.

  • 3
    @ElberichSchneider: Wikipedia knows.
    – DevSolar
    Mar 14, 2017 at 5:04
  • 8
    what, a third of the churches in the village I grew up in was destroyed in the last 20 years. Something must be done NOW to stop this trend! (of course that church burned down and the congregation had no funds to rebuild it, but let's keep those details out of the scare story, shall we).
    – jwenting
    Mar 14, 2017 at 14:49
  • 3
    @jwenting: Yes, it's scary what you can do with a small sample size and relative numbers...
    – DevSolar
    Mar 14, 2017 at 14:50
  • 1
    @ABailey: An unfortunate trend on skeptics is to ask 'loaded questions', i.e. questions accompanied by political propaganda (anti-islamism in this case), looking for answers that say "yes, this is so (some church being demolished somewhere)", without addressing (and thus somewhat acknowledging) the surrounding propaganda -- plus frowning on answers that DO address the question in the context it is given. As such I came to consider skeptics.SE effectively a right-wing propaganda site and stopped posting answers here.
    – DevSolar
    Apr 20, 2017 at 13:19
  • 1
    Or, to put it differently, if the question were just about the video, sans context, then yes, this answer would be missing the point. But the context was given, and IMO the context given makes it irrelevant if the building in the video is a church, or which church specifically. The context given turned the question from "is this a church being demolished" into something else entirely, and answering only that sub-aspect in isolation would be criminally stupid. I opted to not address that sub-aspect at all because it was IMO clearly not what the question was actually about.
    – DevSolar
    Apr 20, 2017 at 13:35

The video is from April 2013 - the destruction of Saint-Jacques’ church in the north of France started at 13 Feb that year.

According to Churches at Risk, Some French Considerations:

Some unfortunate famous cases are Saint-Blaise’s church, where the vault collapsed in 1998 and had not been repaired ever since or Saint-Jacques’ church in the north of France, where it has been years since walls are covered by cracks, weakening the entire structure and opening it to rain penetration, and where the only remaining user of the church was a tree

La Croix provides a timeline of this specific church and what led to this building being demolished.

Built between 1868 and 1878, the church of Saint-James, in neo-Gothic style, survived two world wars and the bombings. But unstable soil, water infiltration and the storm of 2004 have undermined the building, which is collapsing in places. Religious services have not been celebrated there for twelve years. The walls are cracked, the windows caved in, a birch grows on the buttresses.

At the start of the month, with the thaw, blocks of stone fell from the church. Immediately, the city council acted on a meaure of imminent peril, evacuated the neighborhood and forbade access to the next-door school. An expert was sent urgently. In the wake of this, some machines "made safe" the building, by collapsing the choir.

The priest does not question the decision of the town hall, but rather the method. For him, it is "a reality that's powerfully symbolic, loaded with history, which brought together the faithful for a century" which they are putting to the ground (a.k.a. "burying"). Instead of the religious building, the municipality wants to build a square and promises to "leave a trace of the church" . Father Brunel was not discouraged. In this destruction he sees "a true Lenten call to attach himself to Christ and to the living Church".

If the destruction of this church building was part of a "Muslim Conspiracy" or something along those lines, you would not expect one of the priests to be OK with it. It seems as if this church had just been unused for a long time, followed by it becoming structurally unsound and condemned.

  • 3
    The bit about costs would be relevant to your last paragraph: €350,000 to demolish, compared with an estimated €10,000,000 to repair.
    – ChrisW
    Apr 20, 2017 at 15:04

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