The bell named Marcel is named in honor of St. Marcel, the ninth bishop of Paris, who lived in the fifth century. Marcel was particularly revered by Parisians for his charity towards the poor and the sick. The bell which bears his name weighs 244 pounds and stands 55 inches high, and is covered with gold leaf.
After the bare-breasted Femen protesters repeatedly struck the bell with sticks, it was found to have gashes more than one-centimeter in length near its top. The women were protesting Pope Benedict XVI, chanting “Pope no more!” and striking the bells with pieces of wood.
The protesters claimed that they had covered the wooden sticks with felt, and the damage must have been caused at another time. Lawyers representing the cathedral countered that the protection against damage was insufficient.
On September 10, however, the Paris court acquitted the activists, stating that they did not have sufficient evidence to charge them with causing the damage to the bell. At the same time, however, the court fined three cathedral supervisors €300, €500 and €1,000 for “militant violence” while ejecting the Femen protesters from the building.
The feminist, pro-abortion, anti-church organization will face the court on one more day. On October 15, one of the activists will appear in court on charges of “indecent exposure” related to a December 2013 incident. In that case, she had mimed an abortion at the Church of the Madeleine, using a piece of raw veal.
Read my earlier report regarding tise case and the various protests staged by the militant feminist group here.
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UPDATE: Oh, it’s worse than I thought! A report now published in the Italian newspaper Tempi reveals that not only were the Femen activists acquitted of the vandalism charge for their desecration of Notre Dame Cathedral, they were compensated with €1,500 each for their trouble. Tempi reports:
Not only because the Femen enjoy good press and approval in France, especially when they attack Christianity, but also because the prosecutor had never accused the “sex-tremiste” of obscene acts in a public place or incitement to religious hatred, but only to property damage.
Tempi reported on the vandals’ awards and the security team’s fines:
To add insult to injury, the judge ordered that the women be compensated with € 1,500 each. Last but not least, the overseers of the cathedral who escorted the women were sentenced to pay a fine of 300, 500 and 1000 euro for jerking them with too much force. The Femen have commented on the scandalous acquittal: ‘There is only one regret: that the relationship ends here so warm we had with Notre-Dame but we are certain that we will find a way to renew it. “