Six more instances of vandalism against the Catholic Church have been documented since September.
The troubling trend of vandalism and defacement of Church properties has continued seemingly unabated. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, which has been tracking the attacks on their website, has now updated their list to include some 101 attacks on local parishes since May 2020.
In September the USCCB listed only 95 incidents. Six more acts of vandalism have been perpetrated by unknown assailants in the last month. Two of these came in recent weeks, with churches reporting graffiti and destruction of property in Denver and Miami, respectively.
St. Martha’s Catholic Church, Miami, Florida
On September 30, 2021, a statue of Jesus at the entrance of St. Martha’s Church was attacked and destroyed. CBS Miami reports that an unknown assailant knocked off the head of the statue. Further damage was done to the arms, with one of them completely removed, while the other is now missing a hand. Damages are estimated in the thousands.
In this case, the vandals took the time to pick up the head of the statue and toss it over the fence. According to WSVN News, the incident was caught on surveillance footage, but the video has not led to an arrest, or identification of the vandal.
The Catholic community of St. Martha’s expressed their frustration over the second incidence of vandalism of their property in a month. The events occurred exactly one month apart, which has led some to question if there was some meaning behind the timing. Still, Mary Rose Agosta, spokesperson for the Archdiocese of Miami, upheld Catholic values by forgiving the vandal. She said:
“I would think our human nature would say this is somebody who is hurting,” said Agosta. “Yes, forgiveness, that’s what we’re about, but at the same time, we can’t forget it because it is a crime.”
The Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, Denver, Colorado
On the morning of October 11, 2021, the congregation of The Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception found graffiti on the front door. Emblazoned in red paint was the phrase “Satan lives here,” while the pillars beside the portal read “Jesus was here.”