Disinfo: Frequent fires occur in French churches alongside acts of vandalism, the authorities and media minimise them


France has been hit with a string of fires at Catholic churches, some of which occurred alongside acts of vandalism.

Paris’ second largest church, Saint-Sulpice, burst into flames on March 17, the fire damaging doors and stained glass windows. Police later reported that the incident had not been accidental. The story of Saint-Sulpice does not appear to be updated almost a month later suggesting that a deliberate attack of one of Paris’ largest churches was not that newsworthy.

The images of flames of Saint-Sulpice church are one example of the violence committed against Catholics. Also at Saint-Alain Cathedral in Lavaur, statues and crosses were smashed and an altar cloth was burned in February.

Don’t jump to conclusions before the facts come out, but keep in mind that churches have been burned across France for the last few months.

Anti-Christian attacks have sharply risen in France since the beginning of 2019.

It’s unclear who is carrying out those attacks or why they did take place. But the real concern is why the French government and media generally underplay them. The true scale is still unknown.



No evidence given that the French government or media abandoned the stories of fires in churches. On the contrary, the investigation on Saint-Sulpice's church fire led to the conclusion that the fire started from a pile of clothes and "clothes don't ignite by themselves". The pile of clothes belonged to a homeless person and it was probably the result of a dispute between other homeless people.

In the case of Saint-Alain Cathedral in Lavaur, located 300 meters away from a school, teenagers who allegedly burnt the altar cloth and committed other acts of vandalism were incriminated using video surveillance data. The presence of cakes in a confessional and the twisted arm of Christ in the form of dab (a popular dance among teenagers) suggest that the authors were more likely to look for troubled teens than religious fanatics, summarizes La Depeche.

Both accidents appear unlikely to be hate-acts against Catholics. No other recent fires in French churches were reported.

The French ministry of the Interior released statistics in which graffiti tags on Church walls were listed as an act of vandalism, regardless of their size, concluding that such cases occur up to 2,9 a day, reminds Liberation. The figure has remained stable over the past years. The government does not downplay the number of accidents or hide their true number, preferring to speak about minorities' rights, as RT suggests.


  • Reported in: Issue 145
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 15/04/2019
  • Language/target audience: English
  • Country: France
  • Keywords: Notre Dame, Catholic church, Conspiracy theory


Cases in the EUvsDisinfo database focus on messages in the international information space that are identified as providing a partial, distorted, or false depiction of reality and spread key pro-Kremlin messages. This does not necessarily imply, however, that a given outlet is linked to the Kremlin or editorially pro-Kremlin, or that it has intentionally sought to disinform. EUvsDisinfo publications do not represent an official EU position, as the information and opinions expressed are based on media reporting and analysis of the East Stratcom Task Force.

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