Anti-Gay Far Right Activist Commits Suicide on Altar of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris

A well-known far right activist and historian, Dominigue Venner, shot and killed himself in front of crowds of tourists today at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, The Independent reports:

VennerMr Venner, a presenter on a Catholic-traditionalist radio station and controversial historian and essayist,  posted an essay on his website earlier in the day calling for "new, spectacular and symbolic actions to shake us out of our sleep, to jolt anaesthetised minds and to reawaken memory of our origins".

His long essay was a tirade against gay marriage but also a warning that the "population of France and Europe" was going to be "replaced" and brought under "Islamist control" and "sharia law".

Mr Venner placed a sealed letter on the altar of the cathedral before shooting himself. His choice of the altar -  associated  with religious marriage ceremonies -appeared to be a symbolic gesture of protest against the law permitting civil gay marriages in France which took effect last weekend.

Venner was 78. The cathedral was evacuated and closed for four hours after the incident, the paper adds:

The rector of Notre Dame, Monsigneur Patrick Jacquin, said that, as far as he was aware, this was the first suicide within the cathedral since it was founded in the 12th century. "We will pray for this man as we pray for so many others who are at their wits' end," he said.


  1. MarkRocks says

    Good riddance to bad trash. Appropriate place to do it – and the good news – according to his beliefs, he’ll spend eternity in hell (for the suicide). Nice work!

  2. UFFDA says

    The glass is either half full or half empty depending on your view, it has nothing to do with the external world. In killing himself this man gave his life for nothing more that his viewpoint.

  3. Mary says

    My guess is that he probably was suffering from a terminal illness and thought he might as well aim for some political effect with his death. I doubt he did this as pure protest alone. It might only have some effect if numerous people did it.

    Hard to know what to say. I pray for the eternal peace of all souls – whatever their political views were. No need to wish hell on this pathetic man.

  4. says

    there’s a part of me that i’m in no way proud of that nevertheless hopes this inspires similar actions from his like-minded supporters.

    right-wing anti-gay bigots killing themselves in protest?

    if you refuse to be a decent human being and get educated about realities, and continue to promote prejudice, bigotry, intolerance and ignorance…well…. the best gift you give world culture is your complete removal from it.

  5. mike/ says

    and now according to his precious Catholic dogma his soul is condemned to his hell for all of eternity.

    suicide is forbidden but, as common in almost all things catholic, the church retains the ‘right’ to make justification possible. their god still forbids it though…

  6. says

    This is disgusting.

    If this man committed suicide in private it would be one thing, but to do it in such a public place right n front of people who had no relation to him or his “cause” is beyond the pale.

    I don’t wish death on our enemies. I just want them to stop, and leave us alone. They can believe whatever they want to believe — ust don’t pollute the world with their hatred.

  7. Derrick from Philly says

    We may scorn and ridicule, but today is a day of mourning for some of the regular White supremacists on this blog.

    And they don’t have to go all the way to Paris to mourn–there are many churches right here in the US they can use…and they can always borrow a gun from David Hagatha Hearne.

  8. Jay says

    Uhm…prayer for a suicide? I thought the Catholic Church believed suicide was a sin? What are you going to pray for? That your magic sky figure will make an exception in this case?

    There are a lot of people at their wits’ end, monsigneur. Typically they have achieved their wits’ end because of poverty, hunger, and all the other problems that come from social injustice… Injustice that your church perpetuates. But rather than open your millenia old coffers to actually do something good for people in need, your choice is to treat them the same as a sinner in the eyes of your religion…you pray…and throw them crumbs.

  9. Mundusvultdecipi says

    With all due respect; while we might, rightly, loathe the rhetoric and views espoused by some anti-gay people it is abhorrent to take pleasure in any human being killing themselves.

    Suicide is horrific, particularly for the family and loved ones that are left behind and we should not trivialize it because the deceased person concerned held views with which we disagree.

  10. coolbear says

    Posted this on the FB page, but since a lot of people don’t seem to be aware of this guy:
    Venner was a fascist. His suicide was part of a deliberate campaign; he believed sincerely that it would spark a reaction of outrage against gays and the liberalization of France. (It’s kind of a similar situation to the American extremists who believe they can start a race war, but without the criminal associations.) It wasn’t about the defense of Christianity but the defense of “traditonal” national institutions and symbols. I don’t think you can call a person like that disturbed, except to the extent that all terrorists are disturbed. It was a deliberate political assassination; he just chose himself, and I think we can allow ourselves to express satisfaction that he didn’t decide to kill innocent civilians instead.

  11. Caliban says

    The armchair psychologist in me says that like many rabid homophobes Mr Venner was fighting something in himself, and when he lost the public fight he might have felt he was in danger of losing the private, personal one as well.

    Look at where and how he, a supposedly devout Catholic, chose to kill himself. First off, as others have pointed out, suicide is a mortal sin and he was dooming himself (according to his own beliefs) to Hell. And if he was truly protesting against gay marriage why do it in a church instead of at a government building, when it was the government who passed the legislation? And to kill himself in public, in front of tourists who no doubt included some of the children he and his ilk have claimed they want to “protect”? Hmmmm.

    All of this just goes to show that his brain was a seething can of worms and his actions can’t be fully explained by “he was protesting gay marriage.” But whatever. It’s an interesting riddle but, cold though it may seem, I’m not seeing this as a great loss to the world.

  12. Josh says

    Yeah, he was likely dying of something else.

    Also, kind of a dipshit. Self-immolation is the method of choice for these protests.

    But I guess that would hurt too much.

  13. bructer says

    Can’t all the violence just stop,live and let live. We just want to be accepted and given our rights, and the religious right should just go about their business of prayer and whatever in there own little world and leave the rest of humanity alone.

  14. Hey Darlin' says

    The attention seeking will truly stop at nothing sometimes to get the attention they so crave. I hope if he has any family that they find peace in his death.

  15. says

    @MateoM :
    You are quite right.
    All the nutcases seem to be on the religious right; they seem to cling to belief in an after life as some kind of justification of the emptiness of their own.

    This guy was afraid of Sharia law, yet had no difficulty imposing Christian law (of marriage) on all of us.
    These guys are dumb, extreme, delusional psychopaths.

    I just hope he didn’t damage the glass work……it is art …..secular art.

  16. says

    excellent point, Caliban.

    like the gay marriage laws in every other country that’s legalized gay marriages, it won’t actually “force” anything on Catholics.

    but i’m sure his camp will release a statement excusing this not as a suicide, which is indeed a Sin by Catholic doctrine, but will likely compare this man’s insane death to Christ’s sacrifice on the cross.

  17. says

    PS :

    Memo to Pope;
    Well at least we the “intrinsically defective ones” don’t kill our selves on your alters.

    I guess it’s only your true believers and loyal followers who do that.
    So well done Catholic Church, you sure are doing a heck of a job…..(as another delusional oaf once said).

  18. disgusted american says

    I love this line:

    “We will pray for this man as we pray for so many others who are at their wits’ end,”

    ..he was at his wits end about OTHER people Marrying that has NOTHING to do with him>? wow, just wow….

  19. Jack M says

    He should be regarded as any other mentally ill person that commits suicide. He would have to be ill; our enemies are much too self-serving to kill themselves.

  20. AR says

    It’s all black and white on here. So predictable, and boring with commenters who can’t shut up. Little queer-wi’s going after the Catholic church today. Someone dies and the vultures feast.

  21. Seattle Mike says

    This clearly displays a disturbed mind. If he believes Catholic doctrine, he just condemned himself to hell for all eternity by killing himself. My heart goes out to his surviving loved ones.

  22. Bollux says

    What a nutball. Killing yourself because a unjustifiably oppressed people gained a civil right. I hope his punishment in Hell is a jagged glass baguette broken off daily in his derriere.

  23. olympiasepiriot says

    Queer Supremacist wrote “How long before we start seeing Christian suicide bombers?”

    I have to say, I’ve been wondering the same thing.

    This guy killing himself makes me think pretty much along the same lines as Caliban above, too.

    I seem to recall that there was a KKK spokesperson in NYC back in the 1960’s who was found to be a jew. He killed himself when this was printed in a newspaper. Somehow this story of suicide made me remember that.

  24. The Dewd says

    I must admit to being astonished at the savage vitriol that has erupted in FRANCE of all countries over the issue of same-sex marriage. Not that I think France is perfect or anything, and I know there are bigots everywhere, but honestly I thought France was much more evolved on gay issues than this. I expected greater than a tepid small majority support for equal marriage rights when the government introduced the proposed law, and I certainly didn’t expect to see the massive anti-gay protests, the big surge in hate crimes, and freakish actions like this man’s suicide on the high altar at Notre Dame. Meanwhile, in the UK, aside from an angry minority of the ruling Tory Party who have tried some unsuccessful parliamentary maneuvers, there has been little outcry against same-sex marriage and polls show supermajority support for it. I can’t be the only person to think that the reactions to the issue in the UK and France are the exact opposites of what I would have expected until now. Guess I need to rethink my national stereotypes!

  25. melvin says

    I have to give him one thing: he took out himself and not a classroom full of kids or a crowd at a movie theater. American nuts please take note.

  26. says

    I suspect that if he left the church enough money in his will, one of them will find a way to declare that he will make it to heaven even though he committed suicide. It is all about the money with the catholics.

  27. Alan E. says

    STOP with the comments that claim “one less looney” and the like. They are just as disgusting here as they are on Breitbart when targeted at us.

  28. MateoM says

    AR, more like Ratbastard/UFFDA/David Hearne/Rick/Jason/Adam. I mean, it’s the same damn anti-Kiwi rant, including the intentional changing of his name to be some sort of derogatory comment. Seriously, this single troll is so transparent his aliases are easily recognized and dismissed. Why does he even bother?

  29. woodroad34d says

    As everyone has pointed out, the monstrosity of committing suicide in public is beyond the pale. Not only has he offed himself, he might also have psychologically scarred someone so strongly that they might do it as well. He’d then be complicit in a murder. Suicide/murder, what’s a good christian to do? Someone in their right mind wouldn’t have done this. His “message” is now tainted by all things bad. Nice communication there.

  30. Chevytexas says

    Yes, actually he’s the greater immoralist as a suicide, not to mention blaspheming the altar which is a consecrated ground. He made himself into exactly what he claims he hated. Hell for sure, and no decent Catholic would bury him in sanctified ground. The fate is to be ‘outside tge walls”.

  31. Esmertina says

    At least he didn’t decide to take a bunch of other people out with him. I’ve heard theories that mass shootings are as much about the suicide as they are about killing others … for some people, when they get to that point where they want to end it all, they want to go out with a big spectacular memorable bang. I’m glad Notre Dame and the people of Paris were spared that, at least.

  32. ratbastard says


    One more time, I don’t post here under any other name/alias,only ratbastard. I did have another name a few years ago, but changed it. That’s it. I don’t troll, and I especially don’t troll using any other name. End of story. I am not rick, David Hearne, etc.

  33. Vint says

    Catholic doctrine is sufficiently absurd that we needn’t misstate it to make a point.

    It may once have been taught that all suicides go to Hell, but it no longer is (just as it was once taught there was no salvation outside the Church, and it is now conceded that there may be the occasional Jew or Protestant or unbaptized baby in Heaven).

    Catholic doctrine evolves, even as its spokesmen proclaim that it’s unchanging and eternal. The Church’s doctrines on homosexuality and on marriage have changed over the centuries—not always in desirable ways; but eventually, one can still hope, the Church will be considerably less discriminatory and exclusionary than it is at present.

    And hopefully it will become so without encouraging future altar suicides or clinic bombers.

  34. MateoM says

    Rat, if you insist that you don’t troll under any other aliases on here, then so be it. That doesn’t change the fact you troll under your own name. At the end of the day you’re still a Towleroad troll, even if you’re not THE Towleroad troll. And being a Towleroad troll still means you pretty bad.

  35. rouquinricain says

    i’m surprised nobody’s mentioned here that in his suicide note he cites the work of the french writer renaud camus, who writes about these subjects in the same vein. the really interesting thing is that renaud camus is openly gay and has been since the 70s when he was one of the only french writers to be openly gay and at which time he wrote a very explicit book about his sexual encounters (“tricks”).

  36. MateoM says

    At the end of the day, I feel terrible for the loved ones this man felt was less important to live for than the glory of some absurdly petty deity. And I feel even worse for the people who had to witness this gruesome suicide. I mean going to a Catholic church in general is a sure-fire way of screwing up a person’s mind. Watching a guy blow his brains out I’m sure doesn’t help.

  37. Moz's says

    Uhm as someone who was raised catholic…….100% certain that his action sends him straight to hell per catholic doctrine. No matter his intent. He committed suicide = straight to hell per the Catechism. Now if he allowed himself to be killed by someone for his beliefs then he could be a martyr but anyway……

    There are no ifs ands or butts in catholic doctrine on suicide

  38. melvin says

    Virtually every organized religion condemns suicide, although some – Jains for one – will say that it is not necessarily a sin if there is no violence involved (clearly not the case here).

  39. Vint says

    @Moz’s: yes, there is no shortage of people who are absolutely certain about Catholic doctrine when in fact they are wrong.

    Current doctrine leaves to God the decisions about who “goes to Hell”.

    For the definitive word on current dogma, consult the actual current Catechism of the Catholic Church (and not your memory of what some decrepit old nun told you years ago), paragraphs 2280-2283, which include the following sentences: “Grave psychological disturbances, anguish, or grave fear of hardship, suffering, or torture can diminish the responsibility of the one committing suicide.” “We should not despair of the eternal salvation of persons who have taken their own lives. By ways known to him alone, God can provide the opportunity for salutary repentance. The Church prays for persons who have taken their own lives”

  40. Just_a_guy says

    So sad. I feel bad for those who loved him despite his lunacy and hatred. R.i.p. to him all the same. May his delusionality maybe somehow inspire gay youth (who in fact face actual persecution and harassment) to preservere and show their strengths in life.

  41. ShadowChaser says

    The Catholic church changed its stand on suicide in 1970. Until then suicide was seen as taking of a life, homicide by self as it were. Suicide was seen a crime of despair; despair, as defined by the Church, is seen as the loss of hope … truly, the most unforgivable sin in the eyes of the Church

    After the Second Vatican Council, the Catholic Church consulted with experts in mental and behavioral health. It came to realize the connection between suicide and depression as well as other mental illnesses. The Church also reasoned that only God knows what is in one’s mind at the very moment of one’s death.

    The Church then chose to lift its ban denying Catholics who committed suicide burial in consecrated ground.

    What horrifies me the most as a Catholic is the fact that M. Venner chose to shoot himself in a sacred space with other people around. Like the rector of the cathedral, I will offer a prayer of M. Venner’s soul

  42. Moz's says

    @ Vint

    you forgot a large part before that and an important part after that in the Catechism

    That suicide is unlawful is the teaching of Holy Scripture and of the Church, which condemns the act as a most atrocious crime and, in hatred of the sin and to arouse the horror of its children, denies the suicide Christian burial. Moreover, suicide is directly opposed to the most powerful and invincible tendency of every creature and especially of man, the preservation of life. Finally, for a sane man deliberately to take his own life, he must, as a general rule, first have annihilated in himself all that he possessed of spiritual life, since suicide is in absolute contradiction to everything that the Christian religion teaches us as to the end and object of life and, except in cases of insanity, is usually the natural termination of a life of disorder, weakness, and cowardice.

    If suicide is committed with the intention of setting an example, especially to the young, it also takes on the gravity of scandal.

    so no matter what no catholic burial for him and no bishop worth their salt will not judge him as committing a scandal

  43. Vint says

    #Moz’s: I didn’t “forget”: I merely quoted the part that was pertinent to demonstrating that your assertion (that Catholic doctrine is that “suicide = straight to hell per the Catechism”) is false.

    Had someone maintained that Catholicism endorses suicide, those other portions would have been relevant.

    And yes, I think it’s fair to say that public suicide on consecrated ground constitutes scandal.

    But I might also consider labeling gay people “intrinsically disordered” to be scandalous as well. As the Church’s changing stance on suicide (and limbo, and other assorted things) demonstrates, doctrine changes, and we await the coming enlightenment of the Church on this matter.

  44. Bill says

    @Jay: “Uhm…prayer for a suicide? I thought the Catholic Church believed suicide was a sin?”

    To be fair, Catholics traditionally pray for sinners. They think everyone is a sinner, but some more so than others. Sins also have a “pecking order” with any involving two peckers being high up on the list du jour.

    Besides, if they didn’t pray for sinners, that would leave a lot of priests out in the cold given all the sex scandals.

  45. Nickman says

    Oh yeah. Suicide is seen as a really grave sin by the church whose beliefs this man supported, and dessecrating a consecrated altar is another one.

    So yeah, this totally makes sense.

  46. millerbeach says

    Too bad his soul will burn in hell forever. Catholic doctrine is quite clear about suicides, no matter the reason. He also desecrated the altar of a House of God, and some poor nun probably had to clean up the mess. Yup, too bad he went straight to hell, as will most of these purported “Christians” that seem to think they know it all. How sad they will be when they are shown the err of their ways, only, of course, after it is too late to do anything about it. All that wasted oxygen on hate speech, all that wasted energy on hate marches, all of it in vain. Hell sure is going to be one really crowded place when Judgement Day arrives.

  47. Jim says

    How can someone possibly justify one biblical viewpoint with defiling another? Against homosexuality but takes his life in a church in front of people to protest it? Clearly mentally ill… a radical nut job.

  48. StevyD says

    Well, one way or another, the anti-rights people are dying off. By the way, isn’t suicide still a venial sin in Catholic theology or did God admit a mistake and change his mind? Otherwise Mr Venner will reside in hell for a lot more time than this unrepentant homo.

  49. Bill says

    There are two different people posting as “Bill” on this thread. I’m the one who replied to Jay, and refrained from commenting on the person who killed himself.

  50. MaddM@ says

    sad and scary in many ways…. If the lunatic fringe starts getting desperate, we’re going to see a lot more christian fundamentalist domestic terrorism and at least in the US we’re going to be caught flat-footed because so many are convinced that terrorism is a brown/islamic thing…..

  51. jamal49 says

    This man is being praised as “brave” and “courageous” on right-wing sites here in the U.S. U.S. right-wingers are too cowardly, thus far, to respond in kind. But, we need to be ever-vigilant. The right-wing hates us. Yes, HATES us. Things appear to be getting worse in France regarding marriage equality. Should the current government fall, a more conservative government could assume power and turn back marriage equality. The forces of reaction will never concede that LGBTQ people are equal or deserving of civil rights or even human. As long as the right can continue to portray us as evil, vile, less than human, our civil rights anywhere in this world will always be in danger and subject to the whims of reactionaries everywhere.

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