A parish priest is lamenting what he calls “a society without values” this week after two break-ins saw his stunning tile-covered church in Sanguêdo, Santa Maria da Feira, stripped of a 300-year-old chalice and almost all the valuable pieces that were used to enhance religious services and traditions.
“It is so sad to see what they have done,” Manuel Moura has explained. “We’re facing a society without values.”
The chalice, along with six 19th century crosses and another chalice of lesser value, was taken last Sunday night, days after the first break-in that raided items from a side-chamber.
In total, the value of property stolen runs to around €50,000, claims Moura, and the church is now appealing for help to buy a burglar alarm.
“We need one because we can’t take out the other items that we use for worship,” explained the priest. “They are needed. We have talked about the necessity for an alarm for some time now, but there has never been the money for one. People are going to have to help. We have to make an effort to get back our things, too.”
The incident is already in the hands of PJ police and all eyes will be out for anyone dealing in religious relics.
Meantime, Moura is counting himself lucky to still have the parish communion chest, complete with sacred wafers.
This was found discarded on the floor. “Something must have disturbed them,” said the priest, suggesting it may have been “a knock of conscience”.