Over the weekend, a day before French Catholics celebrated Assumption Day under the protection of armed guards, a priest in Carbon-Blanc, a small commune not far from Bordeaux, was held at gunpoint and robbed by a trio of masked men while another priest at the parish had been carrying out a baptism ceremony.
The assailants forced their way into the priest’s dwelling, situated behind the church, at around 1:00 pm on Sunday, apparently thinking that nobody would be home since it was at a time when baptisms are normally performed. After locating and snatching the parish’s safe, which held €2,000, the burglars were stunned when they discovered another priest inside of the home, Ouest France reports.
Two criminals fled with the safe while the third threatened the priest with a handgun before also fleeing the scene.
Authorities arrived at the scene shortly thereafter, but the priest was unable to give an accurate description of the thieves or the vehicle they fled in due to the state of shock he had thrown into. Consequently, the armed robbers remain at large.
The incident comes amid an uptick of anti-Christian attacks throughout Europe, and several months after a knife-wielding man attacked a priest and a nun at the Saint-Pierre-d’Arène church in Nice as they celebrated Sunday Mass. The stabbing left the priest with severe injuries.
In 2021 alone, more than 800 anti-Christian incidents were recorded in France, according to a report from the Catholic News Agency.