Published On: Wed, Aug 10th, 2016

France riot police use tear gas on Catholics during mass, drag out Father Jean-Francois Billot

The Parisian church of Saint-Rita was evacuated by force by riot police while the traditional Mass was being celebrated. Police broke down the doors, force everyone to leave and pulled out furnishings. The “legal violence” involved the use of tear gas and resulted in Father Jean-Francois Billot being dragged by riot police as Father Guillaume de Tanoüarn consumed the Host in order to avoid desecration.

He was escorted out of the building in full traditional vestments.

The photos of the incident circulated quickly across social media.

This police action has been justified by the government, struggling to gain control of religious gatherings after a Catholic priest, Father Jacques Hamel, was murdered by Islamic State terrorists while celebrating Mass in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, a suburb of Rouen in the north of France.

cross on top of church photo/ Heather Truett via pixabay

cross on top of church photo/ Heather Truett via pixabay

There are 312 churches, including 14 in Paris, currently under the threat of destruction either because local authorities are the legal owners of most churches in France and the law of separation of church and state says they cannot afford to maintain the buildings, or because selling the property is more lucrative.


A young female student was knifed in Rennes while waiting for a bus and 85 died in Nice when a Sunni Islamist barreled a semi-trailer into the crowd.

The church of Saint-Rita is of no exceptional architectural value, but it marks the visible presence of God in the city. The neo-Gothic building, standing on an enclave in the grounds of an annex of the UNESCO in a quiet part of southern Paris, dates to the beginning of the 20th century. The church was originally built for a non-Catholic Christian group that was separated from Rome but celebrated Mass in its traditional form by a Society of the “Catholic Apostolic Church,” originally an Anglican group.

The church was rented from 1987 until the end of 2015 by another breakaway Christian group, the “Gallicans.” Unpaid rent led to the end of the contract and the building was put up for sale.


Lawsuits are in progress to determine whether the religious building could legally be pulled down. Several decisions were favorable to the Catholic community, but a recent emergency procedure at the highest administrative level allowed the use of force to evacuate Saint-Rita.

Father de Tanoüarn called on his blog for talks to take place between the building’s owner and the real-estate developer but also the mayor and the Catholic community in order to determine whether Saint-Rita should be destroyed in order to make council flats and parking lots or “remain what it has always been, a Temple of the Holy Spirit, where all can find God who lets Himself be sought, in particular in the splendor of the traditional liturgy.”



 Photo/Vectorportal via wikimedia commons

Photo/Vectorportal via wikimedia commons

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About the Author

- Writer and Co-Founder of The Global Dispatch, Brandon has been covering news, offering commentary for years, beginning professionally in 2003 on Crazed Fanboy before expanding into other blogs and sites. Appearing on several radio shows, Brandon has hosted Dispatch Radio, written his first novel (The Rise of the Templar) and completed the three years Global University program in Ministerial Studies to be a pastor. To Contact Brandon email [email protected] ATTN: BRANDON


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