(Tea Party 247) – While it’s gotten very muted media coverage, Catholic churches across North America have been the recipients of a slate of violence and arson.
According to a report from the Aleteia news agency, Breitbart reports, these incidents occurred between the dates of July 10-16.
The week-long spree of vandalism, presumably connected with ongoing protests, included the desecration of statues of Jesus and Mary — some of which were “beheaded or spray-painted” — along with graffiti on church structures and fire, John Burger reported.
On July 10, a vandal sprayed a statue of the Virgin Mary that stands in front of Cathedral Preparatory School in Queens, New York, with the word “IDOL.” Although the school’s security camera picked up footage of the individual committing the crime, police had not yet apprehended the perpetrator as of the report’s publication this past weekend.
The rector of Cathedral Prep, Father James Kuroly, called the incident “an act of hatred.”
“Obviously, this tragedy saddens us deeply but it also renews our hope and faith in the Lord as he has shown his goodness in the many people who have already reached out to us,” said Fr. Kuroly. “We are sincerely grateful for the help we have received as well as the prayers. Please continue praying for those who committed this act of vandalism and hatred toward Our Lady and the Church.”
The next day, a man crashed his vehicle into the Queen of Peace church in Ocala, Florida, before exiting his vehicle, pouring gasoline around the lobby, and igniting it.
Police eventually arrested 24-year-old Stephen Anthony Shields and charged him with arson and resisting arrest, as well as attempted second-degree murder…as parishioners were attending Mass at the time of his attack, chillingly.
That evening, in Boston, an arsonist set fire to a statue of the Virgin Mary in the Dorchester neighborhood.
Earlier in the week, in Los Angeles, a fire destroyed the roof and sections of the interior of the Mission San Gabriel Arcángel which was founded by St. Junipero Serra in 1771. Agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives are investigating the possibility that the attack was arson.
Los Angeles Archbishop José Gomez referred to the Mission the “historic cornerstone and the spiritual heart of Los Angeles and the Catholic community here.”
On that same day, in Chattanooga, Tennessee, vandals beheaded a statue of the Virgin Mary and knocked it off its pedestal at Saint Stephen Church.
“What a strange time when live it. Over the weekend, a [sic] outdoor statue of the Blessed Mother was beheaded at St. Stephen Parish in Chattanooga,” tweeted Bishop Richard Stika of Knoxville. “This is occurring at various spots throughout the United States.”
On July 14, the statue fo Jesus at Sacred Heart church in Calgary, Canada, was desecrated with paint and graffiti, and police are still investigating a similar case at the Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes in Ontario where several statues were beheaded using a power saw or grinder.
Sometime in the night between July 15 and 16, the entrance to St. Joseph’s church in New Haven, Connecticut was vandalized with spray-painted messages which included satanic symbols.
“At some point between about 9:00 p.m. last night and 6:00 a.m today, there was an act of vandalism at St. Joseph church, where words and various symbols including a satanic one — an upside-down pentagram within a circle — were painted on the outside doors of the church,” said Dominican Father John Paul Walker, the church’s pastor.
He asked parishioners that they would “pray to Our Lord in reparation for this sacrilege, and to St. Michael for protection against all the powers of hell. Please pray, too, for the perpetrator of this action, who is clearly a very disturbed individual in need of serious help.”
In a Facebook post, the Archdiocese of Hartford said that the incident came as part of “an apparent trend of desecrating Catholic spaces throughout the nation, as evidenced by incidents in Chattanooga, Queens, Boston, Sacramento, and Ocala.”
“The underlying motive of these sacrilegious attacks is clear: to intimidate and instill fear in the hearts of those who worship Christ,” the Archdiocese said. “However, our cherished Catholic faith has survived for 2,000 years in the faces of many different oppressors, and it is not about to yield now.”
“Therefore, we remain unafraid and resolute in our faith, and we will pray for a conversion of the hearts of those who wish to terrorize us,” it said.
“Today, even in the midst of anti-Christian sentiment and actions, however, we do not answer hate with hate,” it said. “To the contrary, these attacks make our love and unity stronger, and our prayers ever more steadfast.”
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