Most of the nation’s churches and buildings of worship are owned by state and local authorities; they are also responsible for the costs of maintaining them. The poor conditions of many of these properties have led authorities to consider demolition. Though the fate of one church in Valanjour (Maine-et-Loire) will not officially be decided until the March 2008 election, the city’s mayor is determined to demolish it. “We have 3 churches for 2,000 inhabitants; In a year, the cost to maintain one building is 12,000 euros. The city can’t afford to maintain the building”, said Bernard Briodeau. Despite the opposition by a significant portion of his constituency, the representative, who admits to face “a difficult choice,” affirms he is not backing off. “I understand the symbolic weight of this place; my own children have been baptized there. But let’s stop talking about heritage”.

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