The Destruction of the Church in Gesté : the "Error" in the Letter of the Prefect of Maine-et-Loire


Start of the Completion
of Demolition Work
on the Church in Gesté
(extract from a video in Courrier de l’Ouest)
28th august 2013

4/9/13 - Heritage - Gesté, church - Can a prefect knowingly lie to a national non-profit association of public utility ? This is of course impossible. A high ranking official representing the French government could never lose himself in this way. If not, how best describe what happened - incompetence ? Here again, such an alternative is unconceivable on the part of a prefect. This guessing game fails to provide a logical explanation.

Although it might seem funny to some, the situation is quite serious. Just as we feared, the church of Gesté is almost entirely demolished today, except for the belltower and the crypt.
Yet, on 20 June 2013, the Société pour la protection des paysages et de l’esthétique de la France sent a letter to the Prefect of Maine-et-Loire, François Burdeyron, denouncing the start of the demolition and asking him to intervene in order to put an end to the scandal.
What was the prefect’s answer on 27 June, when everyone knew that the church was to be entirely destroyed and that the mayor was openly stating his intentions ? We truly have to pinch ourselves to make sure this is true but his response was indeed written on stationery bearing the letterhead of the République Française. This Republic is surely ailing today.

First of all, the prefect pretends that he finds the president of this association to be an idiot : "I think that you do not have all the facts concerning the case". He then dares to write : "This is not the demolition of a church : the belltower and crypt as well as the choir will not be destroyed, these are the most emblematic parts of the building and they will be preserved."
On this video, readers will see what the prefect considers to be the conservation, and not the destruction, of a church. According to Le Courrier de l’Ouest, the demolition should be over by the time school starts again. As we write, it has not been entirely completed, some chapels are still standing.

Besides being deeply upset at the sight of these images, we find that the prefect’s letter only serves to emphasize even further this feeling of injustice. We had been informed of his answer shortly afterwards but, obviously, neither the SPPEF nor we had believed this web of misleading statements for a single second. We waited before writing this article for the inevitable to happen : the almost total destruction (except for the belltower and the crypt) of this superb church which the French Ministry of Culture abandoned to its fateful demise.
We contacted the Prefecture which admitted making "an error", with no further comment. An "error" concerning such a prominent event which was widely covered in the media, thus making it impossible for the prefect to ignore all the facts ? Apparently, we will have to therefore prefer the second alternative to finally answer our conjectures...
We should recall that the President of the Republic stated that he wished to establish an exemplary Republic. But that was before he was elected...

Version française


Didier Rykner, lundi 9 septembre 2013



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