A British bishop has appealed for recognition of the importance of religious symbols for military personnel after a historic crucifix was stolen from a chapel at the site of the Battle of Waterloo in 1815.
“Battlefields are places where people are called to pray for peace and the fallen, however long ago the fighting took place,” said Bishop Richard Moth of the Military Diocese of Great Britain, CNS reports.
“The openness to prayer and faith remains widespread among troops today, and the experience of active service very often brings out a religious element even among people who don’t necessarily go to church at home,” he said.
“So any soldier would be appalled by this immoral theft, which is a terrible shame and disservice to the wider community.”
Bishop Moth’s comments were made as an international police hunt continued for the six-foot commemorative crucifix, which was believed stolen the night of Feb. 3 from the chapel at Hougoumont in Belgium.
In a Feb. 15 Catholic News Service interview, he said the crucifix was considered a key emblem by British regiments who took part in the defeat of Napoleon Bonaparte’s Grand Army, and had long been a reminder to anyone visiting Waterloo of the “massive loss of life.”
Bishop Moth said: “As a link to the battle, which survived the raging fire at Hougoumont, it summoned people to reflect in a particular way on what took place there. We’re not always very good at learning lessons from our own history. But this crucifix always prompted visitors to consider the lessons to be learned from Waterloo.”
Hunt is under way for crucifix stolen from Battle of Waterloo site
(Catholic News Service)