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WATCH: Assaults Break Out As Catholics Defend Statue From Hundreds Threatening Destruction; Priest Offers ‘History Lesson’
'Apotheosis of St. Louis', a statue of King Louis IX of France, the namesake of St. Louis, Missouri stands outside the St. Louis Art Museum in St. Louis, Missouri on August 10, 2017.
Raymond Boyd/Getty Images

Catholics and other supporters showed up on Saturday to defend a statue of St. Louis’ namesake from desecration and destruction by hundreds gathered to protest alleged racism.

As Catholic leaders and followers prayed openly in front of the statue of King Louis IX and even offered a “history lesson” to angered protesters, assaults erupted and vandalism was committed.

“The Rev. Stephen Schumacher, a priest with the St. Louis Archdiocese is attempting to provide a history lesson on King Louis IX,” reported Joel Currier of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “He’s being shouted down.”

Rev. Schumacher, in a video which can be viewed below, attempted to inform protesters about King Louis IX.

“St. Louis was a man who had authority thrust upon him, he didn’t do anything to earn it. You’re right, he didn’t do anything to earn it,” started the priest. “What did he do with that authority? Do you know what he did? Go down to the St. Louis Cathedral, and you’ll see some of the history that St. Louis did.”

One of the protesters shouted, “Eventually we’re taking that, too, though,” referencing the cathedral.

“St. Louis was a man who willed to use his kingship to do good for his people,” Rev. Schumacher said, triggering angered shouts from protesters.

“He died in Tunisia,” one of the protesters shouted, drawing an alleged connection to Africans.

“St. Louis had nothing to do with Africans, okay,” the Catholic leader responded to protesters.

“Do you know who lived in Tunisia in the 1100s?” he posed, “Arabs. … and the Arabs had killed all the Africans in Tunisia in the 700s.”

“In the 700s, Arab Muslims conquered the Holy Land,” Rev. Schumacher continued, “Christians did not fight back against that. … the Crusades happened beginning in 1095, after the Turks conquered the Holy Land.”

During the same intense face-off, some protesters marked the statue with chalk, calling for its destruction, reported Currier.

“This man [wrote] ‘Demonter Demanteler’ on the Louie IX base. That translates roughly to remove/take down,” Currier wrote.

In another image captured by Robert Cohen, a photojournalist with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, a supporter of the statue is punched by a protester; the priest also has his megaphone taken from him.

In the video below, captured by Currier, supporters of the statue pray together as they are mocked by protesters.

In a statement released Sunday, the St. Louis Archdiocese defended the statue of St. Louis IX.

“The history of the statue of St. Louis, the King is one founded in piety and reverence before God, and for non-believers, respect for one’s neighbor,” the statement said. “The reforms that St. Louis implemented in French government focused on impartial justice, protecting the rights of his subjects, steep penalties for royal officials abusing power, and a series of initiatives to help the poor.”

“King Louis IX’s renowned work in charity helped elevate him to Sainthood,” the St. Louis Archdiocese continued. “His daily suppers were shared with numerous beggars, whom he invited to the royal table. On many evenings, he would not let them leave before he washed their feet. He personally paid to feed more than 100 poor Parisians every day. His care for the sick was equally moving; St. Louis frequently ministered to lepers. He also created a number of hospitals, including one for the blind and another for ex-prostitutes.”


Related: ‘Made Heroic Sacrifices’: Bishops Condemn Rioters That Vandalized, Toppled Junipero Serra Statues

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