LE POINT , NICE MATIN (France)
NICE - Overzealous forest rangers of the Mercantour National Park in the French Alps, gave a 1,500 euro fine to an association for organizing a catholic mass without authorization.
At first, the rangers told them that it was forbidden to hold a religious event or play the saxophone in the forest. "They seemed understanding and so we celebrated the mass without music," the president of the Aléa association Lucien Carlès told the French daily Nice Matin. "Then they came back and accused us of organizing an unauthorized religious event," eventually slapping the small congregation with a 1,500 euro fine.
The gesture left the worshippers bewildered and sparked the ire of several officials, including mayor of Nice and former French Industry minister Christian Estrosi, who told the French weekly magazine Le Point : "I find restrictions for such traditional celebrations shocking," he said. "It goes against the principles I'm fighting for in our villages."
The Aléa association has been holding this mass for the past 15 years in remembrance of its deceased members.
"The rangers compared it to a ‘rave party". It's just preposterous!" said Lucien Carlès .