Protesters are calling for the removal of a statue of St. Louis’ namesake, a French king-turned-saint who burned manuscript copies of Jewish religious texts during the Middle Ages, while another group is praying for the monument to stay. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that about a dozen police officers stood between a total of nearly 200 in both groups gathered Saturday at the Apotheosis of St. Louis, the formal name for the statue of King Louis IX atop Art Hill in Forest Park. Louis IX is the only king of France to be canonized in the Catholic Church.
Catholic officials say protesters calling for the removal of a statue of St. Louis’ namesake should consider all that the imperfect man did to help the poor and the sick. The Archdiocese of St. Louis said in a statement Sunday that King Louis IX is “an example of an imperfect man who strived to live a life modeled after the life of Jesus Christ.” The archdiocese said the saint and ruler of France during the 13th century opened hospitals and shared his daily meals with beggars. The archdiocese said those seeking change should focus on policies that will dismantle racism instead of seeking to “erase history.”