Rome Newsroom, Mar 11, 2021 / 12:00 pm (CNA).- Bulldozers have torn into a 135-year-old church dedicated to St. Joseph in northern France — the first of several church demolitions that could take place in the country in the coming months.

The Chapelle Saint-Joseph, built by the Jesuits in Lille between 1880 and 1886, is being bulldozed by the Catholic University of Lille to make way for a new student building. But the nearby Rameau Palace — designed by the same architect, Auguste Mourcou — is being preserved and restored.

A group appealed to the French Ministry of Culture to reclassify the church building as historical. But the ministry rejected the appeal, stressing that “giving up the demolition of the chapel would lead to the abandonment of an important project for the development of higher education, which represents an investment of 120 million euros [around $144 million].”

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