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'Stressed' French priest smashes Jesus statue

The Local/AFP · 11 Nov 2015, 10:38

Published: 11 Nov 2015 10:38 GMT+01:00

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Most people can relate to feeling stressed at work, but 55-year-old priest Jean-Jacques Le Roy may have taken things too far when he threw a statue of Christ to the ground, reportedly crying out "one less!" as he did so.

The incident occurred last Thursday while a sacred art commission was visiting the church in Plestin-les-Greves, a town of 3,600 inhabitants in Brittany.

Vicar-general Gerard Nicole said Le Roy did not like the style of sculpture, and the priest himself said his act was not deliberate, and that he had simply pushed the statue too hard while checking if it was properly attached to a wall.

However, local media said he had smashed another religious statue in front of a couple in 2014.

Le Roy cited the stress of his job as the cause for the incident. "In our ministry, we are called upon from all directions; there aren't many priests, there is a certain fatigue, irritation, stress. It all came together at that moment," he told AFP.

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He apologized to those present, but his congregation wrote a letter to the bishop to complain.

"We can understand that people are shocked," said Nicole. "I don't rule out a moment of difficulty, of distress."

Nicole said that Le Roy had been summoned to explain himself to the local bishop.

Not everyone viewed the outburst in a negative light however, with French newspaper 20minutes commenting: "Here's an incident in the religious world that isn't banal".

The Local/AFP (news.france@thelocal.com)

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