It happened in Omaha:
On the first morning of the 31st annual Cathedral Flower Festival, with its theme of “A Night at the Movies,” an agitated church custodian made a bold move. Mark Kenney, 59, who grew up in the parish, had worked at St. Cecilia Cathedral for three years. Around 8 a.m. on Jan. 29, he went to a work shed, picked up a pair of heavy-duty bolt cutters and ascended to a catwalk high above the mostly empty nave, or main sanctuary.
He looked through a peephole, he said, to make sure he wouldn’t hurt any people. And then he cut a steel cable, which sent a suspended, umbrella-carrying, hat-wearing Mary Poppins figure crashing to the floor.
Kenney then went downstairs and removed a cardboard Buddha figure from the Nash Chapel, which also featured costumed mannequins from “The King and I.” He threw the Buddha out one door and proceeded to toss costumed mannequins out two other doors.
Someone alerted the pastor, the Rev. Michael Gutgsell, who ran from the rectory next door to the church and saw Kenney.
“Mark,” he called out, “did you see who did this?”
“Father, it was me. You need to call the police.”
Gutgsell had known that his custodian had misgivings about secular displays in the church but says he was dumbfounded and didn’t understand why Kenney would take such drastic action. In a brief meeting that week, the pastor said, he had asked for Kenney’s promise not to be disruptive.
Now the priest was shocked, saying, “You promised!”
In response, Kenney said, he lashed out. “I started screaming, ‘Father, this is bullshit! We can’t have this in the church. This isn’t culture, it’s Disney crap!’ ”