As part of the States General of Heritage, launched by the Conference of Bishops of France, a form of 150 questions was sent to the dioceses so that they specify the number and status of approximately 40,000 parish churches: from what period date -they? Are they classified as a historic monument or not? Above all: are they open to worship? Do they host activities other than religious services? This census is also concerned about protection against theft, the number of relics, the state of archives and contemporary creation projects, the reception of solar panels… Before next March, it is a question of establish a precise inventory of the parish heritage of our country. Knowing that these churches belong mainly to municipalities (but sometimes to dioceses) and that the Church is the assignee.
Unheard of in our country until now. In fact, only classified or registered churches are inventoried by the Ministry of Culture. The Religious Heritage Observatory association has also launched a broader census of the estimated 100,000 religious buildings in our country (all religions combined, communal but also private heritage, etc.), this one, participatory, depends on the good will of volunteers and n It’s not yet complete.
In his preamble, Father Gautier Mornas, coordinator and secretary of these Estates General, reminds the bishops that “if the only heritage that the Church has the mission to preserve and transmit to all generations is the deposit of faith, for many of our fellow human beings the Gospel comes through stones, works of art and traditions.” Drawing on the global emotion aroused by the fire at Notre-Dame de Paris, he insists on the evidence of a deep attachment to religious heritage which must, for Christians, be “a reason for profound joy and a point additional approach and connection between the Church and society.” Indeed, many bishops, overloaded with work, find it difficult to see in their heritage a lever for evangelization. This large inventory also aims to convince them of the benefit of inviting all audiences, whatever their primary motivation, to enter a church.