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PARIS (ChurchMilitant.com) - The woes of the Catholic Church continue to make headlines in France just days after the martyrdom of French priest Fr. Jaques Hamel. One priest was dragged from St. Rita's Church in Paris, and another priest celebrating Mass was forced to stop. This last event happened just hours away from where Fr. Hamel had his throat slit by Muslims.
Father Guillaume de Tanoüarn from the Institute of The Good Shepherd was celebrating Mass when French authorities began storming St. Rita's Church. The congregation stacked up pews and kneelers at the front door in an attempt to slow down French authorities.
According to the Washington Post, the traditional priest and congregation were on the property without permission. The church was abandoned one year ago by a Gallican community unable to provide 3.5 million euros to avoid demolition. It was known in France as a dying church. It was also infamously known as the "animal church," where Gallican priests would bless camels, dogs, parrots and other beasts.
It appears in video that former SSPX priest and co-founder of the Institute Fr. Guillaume was partially through the Mass of The Faithful when he and others were forced to leave the building. The Institute of the Good Shepherd is a group of traditional priests dedicated to the 1962 Missal and a traditional interpretation of Vatican II. According to the Institute's website, "the members of the Institute, as far as they are able, are engaged in 'a serious and constructive critique' of the Second Vatican Council, in order to bring about an authentic interpretation of the Council by the Apostolic See."
This is not the first time members of the Institute of the Good Shepherd have attempted to take over a dying church. Prior to becoming a canonically recognized Institute in 2006, the group of former SSPX priests took over the Paris church of Saint-Germain-l'Auxerrois.
There are no reports on whether the Hosts were consecrated, although video evidence shows Fr. Guillaume protected by congregants as he processes out with the ciborium.
In light of recent events, nationalist groups have been sympathetic with the Catholic Church. Pew research shows that Muslims now make up 7.5 percent of "The Eldest Daughter's" population, making it the largest Muslim population in Western Europe. Leader of the National Front Party Marine Le Pen tweeted, "And what if they were to build a parking lot on the site of a Salafist mosque instead of destroying one of our churches?"