Notre Dame fire hits after several cases of vandalism against French Catholic churches

The world watched in horror at Paris’ historic Notre Dame Cathedral erupting in flames Monday. The fire is the latest in a series of troubles that have plagued Catholic churches in France in the last several months.

Some of those incidents were acts of vandalism, unlike the fire at Notre Dame, which appears to be an accident connected to renovations of the church.

The image of the famous spire engulfed in flames is a hard hit to the historically deeply Catholic France. While Notre Dame is undoubtedly the most well-known landmark to be affected, Paris’ second largest church, Saint-Sulpice, briefly burst into flames on March 17, with fire damaging doors and stained glass windows on the building’s exterior. Police later reported that the fire had not been “an accident.”