The bulldozer goes into action, moves inexorably and hits with the hardness of steel the wall of the church of Saint Lambert, a small Catholic church in the town of Immerath in North Rhine-Westphalia. In two days, the church has turned into a heap of rubble.
In its place nothing but an empty space, which will serve to expand the nearby coal mine of Garzweiler. Some say it will be used as space to pile up coal, others to widen the access routes. And this is the reason for the demolition, decided as early as 2013, when the federal court decided that the rights of the local population, the ecologists and those who fought to keep an old church standing (deconsecrated but in the hearts of the local faithful), were less important than the public interest in increasing the mining capacity of that coal mine. Today, that church built by the local Catholic community in 1893 does not exist anymore.
And with it, it must be said, a little piece of Europe also left, because capitalism trumps Christianity in an era when ‘the market’ is god (the old name used to be ‘Mammon’t. In a Europe that prefers to expand a coal store rather than maintain a structure that, after more than a century, remained there, to remember that a religious tradition, but still cultural, existed and should continue to exist:
Unfortunately, this is not the first case of old churches desecrated and demolished by the laws of the market. And in this, it is the Church, the one with the capital “c”, to be somehow complicit. If you make the temples as places subject to the coldest laws of the market, it is clear that a little church of the village, less and less frequented and with few priests available, becomes a cost and not a resource.
Proverbs 22:28 King James Version (KJV)
Remove not the ancient landmark, which thy fathers have set.