Situated on the pedestrian precinct of the Bastide Saint Louis, the Carmelite church is cherished by the people of Carcassonne but needs complete renovation.
Who is the owner of the building?
The Carmelite church belongs to the association diocésaine (diocese society). It is interesting to note that the French State only acknowledges the existence of a diocese with regard to worship in the Catholic Church. A parish has no legal existence according to French law. But according to the law of the Catholic Church (« Canon law »), the parish of Carcassonne is indeed the owner and manager of the building, just as it owns the churches of St-Jacques, St-Joseph, Notre Dame de Grazailles, Le Sacré Cœur. This means that any repairs are paid for by the owner. The situation is different from that of municipal churches for which the municipalities are responsible. However, according to a ministerial circular, public bodies can, if they so wish, contribute to the cost of repairs to a place of worship that does not belong to them, without contravening the principle of the separation of the State from the Church.
Why is the church in such a bad state?
There are historical reasons. During the French Revolution the church was sold as a state-owned building. The floor was raised to the level of the street, the decorative features were given away or destroyed. It appears that openings were created in the thickness of the buttress walls which affected the stability of the building. After a period of renovation during the middle of the 19th century, the church was again sold and was not used for worship again until 1909. In the meantime it was used as a warehouse. The building has suffered the test of time and Carcassonne sandstone tends to crumble. The rooves have allowed water to seep in, some of the stained glass is damaged and there are cracks in the walls. Today the church is still standing, but if nothing is done now, in twenty years’ time, there is no guarantee it still will be.
How much will the work cost?
The work is planned to be carried out in 5 tranches: the first concerns the right-hand side of the church, which has suffered greater damage, for a total cost of 923 000 euros. This is a considerable amount of money for our small diocese!
How can I help to renovate the church?
You can help in a number of ways. Donations to the “Association Diocésaine de Carcassonne”, benefit from tax relief for those who live in France; donations can also be made directly in the collection box at the entrance of the church. Why not make a spiritual and cultural commitment to help the church by joining the society “Amis des Carmes” (“Friends of the Carmelite church”) or by joining the pastoral service for tourism?
Making a donation
The Carmelite church is the property of the diocese of Carcassonne and Narbonne and your donation to support the renovation project will be gratefully receive.
You may contact the bishop’s offices in Carcassonne by phone: 04 68 47 05 31 Mondays to Fridays from 9am to noon and from 2pm to 5pm or by mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you pay taxes in France, you can reduce the amount of tax you pay by 66% of the amount of the donation. The “association diocésaine de Carcassonne » is entitled to issue tax receipts.
Thank you for your support!