French priest smashes Jesus statue, blames job 'stress & fatigue'

© Mariana Bazo
A French priest shocked his congregation when he smashed a statue of Jesus while reportedly shouting “one less!” The clergyman blamed the “stress and fatigue” of his job for his outburst, which prompted upset parishioners to write a letter to the bishop.

The surprising move by 55-year-old priest Jean-Jacques Le Roy occurred last Thursday at a church in Plestin-les-Greves, Brittany, northwest France, The Local reported.

The clergyman couldn't have picked a worse audience for his outburst – the incident occurred during a visit from a sacred art commission, which curates church icons similar to the one he smashed.

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Le Roy blamed the stress and fatigue of his job, telling AFP that priests are “called upon from all directions; there aren't many priests, there is a certain fatigue, irritation, stress. It all came together at that moment.”

However, Le Roy claims his intention wasn't to destroy the statue. He says he simply pushed it too hard while checking whether it was properly attached to the wall. He apologized to those present at the time of the incident.

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However, Le Roy's congregation didn't seem to believe his claim that the move was unintentional, and wrote a letter of complaint to the bishop. The priest has now been summoned to explain himself to the senior clergy member, Vicar-general Gerard Nicole said.

According to local media, this isn't the first time that Le Roy has lashed out against a work of religious art. He reportedly smashed another statue in front of a couple in 2014.