Miscellaneous

January 7

Yonkers, NY — Vandals shattered a five-foot-tall statue of St. Bartholomew in front of St. Bartholomew’s Catholic Church. The statue was valued at $2,500.

January 8

Baton Rogue, LA — Six hundred crosses, erected by the Catholic Life Center to memorialize aborted fetuses, were pulled from the ground at the Center and thrown into bushes and a parking lot. Eight hundred crosses had been placed at the Center a day earlier.

February

Oakland, CA — The pro-life campaign by the Respect Life Ministry of the Oakland Diocese came under attack by local vandals. Pro-life ads placed on Bay Area Rapid Transit trains were covered with vicious anti-Catholic and obscene remarks. Most of the ads were destroyed. The Oakland Diocese paid to replace them.

February 3

Waterbury, CT — A gay doctor at St. Mary’s Hospital tried to gain an insurance card for his life partner but was denied because the hospital did not recognize the couple’s legal civil union. The hospital’s president said St. Mary’s abides by the “ethical and religious directives of the [Catholic] church.” The doctor filed a lawsuit with the state Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities in an attempt to force the Catholic hospital to violate the church’s teaching.

February 23

Chicago, IL — Mary Gail Frawley-O’Dea, a psychologist who addressed the bishops in 2002, sent Chicago Archbishop Francis Cardinal George a letter stating the Cardinal might be considered “an accessory to soul murder” because he didn’t act quickly enough to remove an accused priest from ministry.

March 6

Chicago, IL — A man was arrested for stealing several brass candle holders and other Catholic relics, including one that contained the bone fragments of St. John De La Salle, from the altar of St. John De La Salle Church. Also in the man’s possession at the time of his arrest were boots that belonged to a priest.

March 12

Flushing, MI — Five members of the Kansas-based Westboro Baptist Church held up signs saying, “Thank God for Dead Soldiers” and “God Hates You” at the funeral of a soldier killed in Iraq. Margie Phelps, the daughter of Westboro founder Fred Phelps, sang “the pope, the pope, the pope is on fire. He don’t get no water, let the heretics burn” in front of St. Robert Bellarmine Catholic Church. Westboro Baptist Church protests at soldiers’ funerals because the soldiers, according to the church’s website, “voluntarily joined a fag-infested army to fight for a fag-run country now utterly and finally forsaken by God who Himself is fighting against that country.”

March 13

Spokane, WA — The Spokane fire chief announced that a fire that destroyed an $11 million apartment complex at the Jesuit-run Gonzaga University was intentionally set.

March 14

Pittston, PA — A woman was arrested after she cashed five checks worth $3,137 that were stolen from St. John the Evangelist Church. The theft of the checks occurred in May 2005.

April

Virginia — A newsletter distributed at a rest stop on I-81 and published by Project Restore included readings that accused the Catholic Church of, among other things, trying to take over governments and of being an example of “the determined cruelty of Satan.”

April

Ault, CO — Vandals spray-painted on St. Mary’s Catholic Church. In May, vandals also damaged at least nine monuments at Ault Cemetery, which is on the same street as the church.

April 10

Gillette, WY— A bronze statue of a Catholic cardinal, which stood outside the Campbell County Public Library, was wrapped in plastic sheeting, soaked in flammable liquid and set on fire. After the statue, titled “Morning Spirits” (by sculptor Susan Geissler), underwent more than $4,000 in repairs, it was donated to St. Matthew’s Catholic Church.

April 20

Greenwich, CT — Sacred Heart Catholic Church’s education center was broken into. Vandals smashed statues of St. Joan of Arc, St. Michael the Archangel and the Virgin Mary and carved anti-Semitic and occult symbols on chalkboards and walls.

May 2

Wilmore, PA — Burglars broke into St. Bartholomew’s Catholic Church. The thieves stole consecrated hosts, a paten used to hold the Eucharist, two chalices and an incense container.

May 6

Omaha, NE — Thieves stole six Stations of the Cross and a six-foot-high depiction of Jesus from Immaculate Conception Catholic Church. The painting was one of three depicting St. Maria Faustina’s vision of Jesus as the Divine Mercy.

May 31

San Francisco, CA — During a panel discussion of “The Da Vinci Code,” Rabbi Michael Lerner, the editor of the magazine Tikkun, said the Catholic Church “has lots and lots of blood” on its hands. Rabbi Lerner also said Opus Dei founder St. Josemaria Escriva was “a fan of Spanish fascism” who “explicitly praised Hitler.” If a Catholic priest had made similar remarks about Jews during a discussion of an anti-Semitic movie, he would properly be blasted by both Catholics and Jews for his remarks.

June 3

Gastonia, NC — Vandals spray-painted obscenities and did other physical damage to the activity center of St. Michael’s Catholic Church.

June 6

A number of churches and holy places around the country were vandalized with satanic messages, because the number abbreviation for this day (06-06-06) is similar to the supposed sign of the Antichrist (666).

In Evanston, Illinois, vandals struck two churches and a Catholic mission in Chicago. A deputy police chief said satanic symbols were found spray-painted on a statue of the Virgin Mary outside the Malankara Catholic Mission of Chicago. Police say they discovered similar graffiti on Evanston Church of God and Emanuel Methodist Church.

In Bozeman, Montana, a groundskeeper discovered a quote and a symbol from The Da Vinci Code spray-painted on the front doors of Holy Rosary Church.

In Gardnerville, Nevada, vandals spray-painted graffiti on St. Gall Catholic Church and five other Christian churches in Douglas County. The graffiti included “666,” upside-down crosses and references to Satan.

In Yonkers, New York, vandals spray-painted satanic images outside St. Joseph’s Seminary. Among the graffiti were pentagrams and upside-down crosses. A website dedicated to the heavy metal band Slayer took credit for the vandalism. The band’s publicist said, to the best of her knowledge, Slayer did not know about the vandalism. The website, dedicated to “National Day of Slayer” on June 6, 2006, says the “holiday” was so successful that the site is encouraging its continuation on June 6 “for years to come.” Among the things the website encouraged on June 6: blasting Slayer’s music in public, starting riots, and generally, “taking participation [in National Day of Slayer] to a problematic level.”

In Pen Argyl, Pennsylvania, at least one vandal struck St. Elizabeth’s Catholic Church. The Reverend Richard Schware said he heard someone yell “Satan rules” in the rectory driveway at about 11 p.m. The next morning three statements, including “Lucipher is my Savior,” were found written in chalk on the driveway.

In Hubertus, Wisconsin, vandals struck Holy Hill, National Shrine of Mary, Help of Christians. They spray-painted references to Satan and Hell on several Stations of the Cross and a statue of the Virgin Mary. A 21-year-old man and a 17-year-old boy were later identified as the people responsible for the vandalism. The 21-year-old said he didn’t feel sorry for what he did.

Vandals were out in full force on June 6, 2006. They left graffiti in the form of satanic symbols and messages at holy sites around the country, including this statue at the National Shrine of Mary, Help of Christians in Hubertus, Wisconsin.

(Catholic Herald [Milwaukee] photo by Stephen Olszewski)

June 7

Washington, DC — U.S. Senator Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts said of the constitutional amendment that would define marriage as between a man and woman: “A vote for this amendment is a vote for bigotry pure and simple.” The Catholic League, in a press release, responded, “Mr. Kennedy, who is Catholic, should know that the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops is in favor of a constitutional amendment.” We also pointed out that ministers of other Christian denominations, and even the people of New York City, don’t want same-sex marriage. We asked, “Are all these people bigots, Mr. Kennedy?”

June 16

Aurora, IL — A flag, given to a nun by her nephew after he returned from Iraq, was stolen from outside the convent of Our Lady of Good Counsel Catholic Church. The flag turned up in a mailbox in a neighboring town on July 3. A note accompanying the flag said the person returning it had found the flag and not stolen it.

June 20

Trenton, NJ — A man vandalized St. Mary of the Assumption Byzantine Catholic Church during his rampage in the city’s South Ward. The man smashed the statues of the Three Children of Medjugorie. He also smashed the windows of buildings and vehicles. After being arrested and released, he returned the following day to the church property. When asked what issue he had with the Church, he replied, “It’s personal.”

June 21

Lawrence, KS — Thieves stole $40 in cash and a $100 brass donation box from St. Lawrence Catholic Center at the University of Kansas. Earlier in the week, a University Christian Fellowship office was burglarized.

June 27

Boston, MA — A coalition of religious leaders in Massachusetts criticized Boston Archbishop Sean Cardinal O’Malley and other Catholic leaders for opposing same-sex marriage. The coalition accused the Catholic leaders of “religious discrimination” and asked that the leaders stop campaigning for laws that protect marriage. The Catholic League responded by requesting that the religious coalition stop discriminating against Catholics. We said the statement from the religious coalition was nothing but an attempt to censor the voice of Catholics.

July

Washington, DC — A lawyer filed a complaint with the IRS against the Missouri Catholic Conference. The complaint alleged that the Catholic Conference engaged in “illegal political interference” when it encouraged candidates for state office to return contributions received from an organization that promotes embryonic stem cell research and human cloning. The Catholic League responded that the censors were out in force. We said that not only did they seek to advance a utilitarian agenda, they sought to promote a gag rule on those who disagreed with them.

July

Provincetown, MA — Some of Provincetown’s Catholics came under attack for their stance on upholding traditional marriage. Gays are a prominent presence in Provincetown, and were not happy about this position. A number of Provincetown residents who were also members of the local Catholic Church signed a petition calling for Massachusetts to recognize only heterosexual marriages. The names and addresses of the petition signers were posted on a website, KnowThyNeighbor.org. One woman who signed the petition says a copy of the list of signers was left on her windshield. Another woman said the publisher of Provincetown Magazine called her a bigot when he saw her shopping.

July 9

Deer Park, NY — A man was arrested for repeatedly breaking into Sts. Cyril & Methodius Church. Police said the man was homeless and took hundreds of dollars from the church’s poor boxes over the past two months.

July 10

Deer Park, NY — A man was charged with burglarizing St. Anthony’s Catholic Church the previous day. He found no money in the collection boxes and nothing of value in the sacristy. The man was tracked down because he left his wallet in the church and a janitor found it.

July 12

Logan, IA — Fifteen of the 19 crosses outside the Museum of Religious Artifacts were vandalized. The crosses were made out of wood and stainless steel. Wooden crosses were broken and steel crosses were bent over. Damage to the Hill of Crosses was estimated at $6,000.

August 11

Sun Prairie, WI — Vandals burned goods and a tent being used for a rummage sale at Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary Catholic Church. The parish administrator said $1,000 worth of goods might have been burned.

August 14

San Francisco, CA — A man who says he was depressed and using drugs set fire to the inside of Corpus Christi Catholic Church. The fire caused $500,000 in damage.

August 19

Trenton, OH — It was discovered that a fiberglass statue of baby Jesus was missing from a grotto behind Holy Name Catholic Church. The statue was previously stolen after it was first placed in the grotto five or six years ago.

August 27

Meade, KS — A protest by members of Westboro Baptist Church included a sign that read, “Priests rape boys.” The members were protesting a hotel flying a rainbow flag (a homosexual symbol). The protesters also criticized local churches for not doing enough to keep the flag from flying.

September 30

Milwaukee, WI — Vandals broke windows, shattered a fish tank, stole a turtle, released birds from their cages, plucked the birds’ feathers and splattered food and cleaning agents across the cafeteria floor at Prince of Peace School. St. Vincent De Paul Catholic Church, which is connected to the school, also had windows broken. Classes at Prince of Peace had to be cancelled as a result of the damage.

October 3

Los Osos, CA — St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church was vandalized. Vandals spray painted messages including, “I AM WHITE, I HATE RELIGION, IT’S EVIL” and “GOD SAYS ‘KILL THE OTHER BELIEVERS’ KILL, KILL, KILL.” It was believed the same vandals struck Calvary Baptist Church in San Luis Obispo.

October 3

West Palm Beach, FL — The lawyer for disgraced Congressman Mark Foley claimed, as a teenager, Foley was abused by a clergyman. Since Foley is Catholic, the suggestion was that Foley was abused by a priest (it was later revealed that this clergyman was a priest, although the priest denied any sexual intercourse took place). The Catholic League told the press that Foley was playing the Catholic card, as the public is prepared to believe the worst about priests. We also said Foley was seeking to exculpate his behavior. Foley resigned after news that he sent sexually explicit e-mails to former congressional pages.

October 5

Miami, FL — The first of three break-ins took place at Notre Dame d’Haiti Catholic Church. Thieves broke into the school and then entered the church. They stole a pastry warmer and fryer and musical instruments to be used in the Sunday service. On October 7, another break-in, again at the school, resulted in the theft of books, computers and fans. The final break-in occurred on October 11, when someone broke a window on the church’s roof, entered the school and vandalized two classrooms.

October 23

Iona, MN — Vandals destroyed 13 tombstones and a number of wooden crosses in the cemetery at St. Columba Catholic Church the previous weekend.

November

Brooklyn, NY — The Catholic League was sent a pamphlet published by the Watch Tower Bible Tract Society of Pennsylvania. In a section of the pamphlet titled “False Religion…,” it is written, “Even churches that condemn immorality have tolerated religious leaders who have sexually abused children.” Next to this section is a picture of a priest; half his face is covered in darkness.

November 1

Largo, FL — A groundskeeper found a decapitated statue of Jesus, with the statue’s head in its lap, at Serenity Gardens Memorial Park. The groundskeeper also found an angel statue knocked over, with the statue’s wings shattered. The police arrested a 16 and a 17-year-old boy in connection with the vandalism.

November 5

Hastings, MN — Vandals overturned at least 19 tombstones and smashed flowerpots at the St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Cemetery. Older tombstones and memorial statues in the center of the cemetery were targeted. One of the memorials stood more than 10 feet tall and held a large cross.

November 18

St. Petersburg, FL — Two teenagers defaced a mural of Jesus at Holy Family Catholic Church. The teens drew a pentagram, a swastika and wrote racial slurs and a message telling people to worship Satan. A police officer on patrol arrested the perpetrators. The incident was classified as a hate crime.

November 23

New Brighton, PA — A witness says she saw a teenage male strike a statue of the Blessed Mother outside Holy Family Rectory. She said the teen used a metal bar or pile to strike the statue, until the statue’s head came off. In addition, six shrubs were ripped out of a monument and two light receptacles were smashed in front of the rectory.

December

Fillmore, NY —The Catholic League was notified about a flyer from the Most Holy Family Monastery, a dissident organization that questions the authority of every pope since John XXIII. The flyer had a list of videos the monastery offered, including such titles as “The Amazing Heresies of Benedict XVI,” and “Why John Paul II Cannot be the Pope.”

December 5

Spokane, WA — Arsonists set fire to the foyer of the 103-year-old Our Lady of Lourdes Cathedral.

December 7

San Diego, CA — Vandals defaced a statue of Jesus outside Good Shepard Catholic Church. They painted obscenities, pentagrams and swastikas.

December 18

Stewartstown, PA — Someone used a nylon rope to hang a plastic statue of the Virgin Mary from a light post outside Stewartstown Presbyterian Church. The statue had been stolen from a home a few blocks away.

December 28

Federal Way, WA — Anti-religious graffiti was reported on St. Vincent De Paul Catholic Church. Various slogans were written, including “F— God.”

December 29

New York, NY — Workers at St. Jean Baptiste Catholic Church discovered the phrase “Satan is God” scrawled on a door in the church’s vestibule. They also found other phrases, including “Christ is a false God,” written elsewhere on church grounds.

Hate Mail

Every year, the Catholic League is deluged with hate mail. It arrives via the postal service, fax, feedback forum on our website and phone calls. We could fill an entire volume with examples of this mail, but we’ve decided to provide just a small sample. We received the following in response to an op-ed page ad we placed in the New York Times, which isreprinted here. All misspellings and grammatical errors are included.

  • “Hypocrites. All of you. Preach love and acceptance, but only say critical, spiteful remarks. Organizations like this make me sick that you represent the Catholic Faith, and the vision of Catholics that you send out is that of bigotry. I think it is immature at best to critique the actions of others anti-church. Why should slander matter? Let people talk if they want. It shows a greater level of maturity and confidence in your faith to not introduce counter attacks on your critics. Thank you for helping to ruin the reputation of Catholics. I hope your organization goes under completely.”
  • “It must be really sad for your organization to watch as the church’s role in the world shrinks to nothing; to see that institution for what it has always been: a way for certain select males to utterly dominate the sheep, especially woman and children.”
  • One person referred to the “catholic religious cult.” He added that, “what your evil religious cult does today is far worse than what your employees do when they see an ostrich with its head in the sand, and they go over to it and have sex with it.” He wrote later, “Look, even if not one of them did something inappropriate with a child’s sex life, I would still condemn every single one of your lying superstitious fake phony hypocrite brainwashed employees whether you choose to name him or her a ‘pope’, a ‘bishop’, a ‘cardinal’, a ‘monk’, a ‘public relations expert’, or a Knights of Columbus freemason employee whose job it is to tell everyone how ‘wonderful’ and ‘misunderstood’ the catholic belief is from his/her office in New Haven, Connecticut.”
  • Referring to the .02% of the 42,000 priests in this country credibly accused of sexual abuse in 2005, one writer said, “I suspect that much greater percentages of the clergy are routinely violating their vow of celibacy by engaging in sexual activity with brother priests, other religious and male and female members of the laity as well as other non-catholics, and, finally, with themselves.”
  • “Maybe now the Church knows how it feels to be persecuted for false sex allegations just because of your religion. To be called Pagan and Sinner just becaue you don’t follow the Church or your religion antedated Catholic Christianity. The Church, whose priesthood had such closeness with God they didn’t even know the Earth revolved around the sun. (A monor point I guess)”
  • “If Donohue thinks anyone is forgetting the history of this church… Its more than thousand year campaigns against Jews, isolating them from society, forcing them to wear Yellow Stars—Its Crusades and wars on ‘heretics’—including native Americans and its lack of resistance to the enslavement of the African in America. Its endorsement of Adolph Hitler—It’s ‘Guilt and Co-Responsibility for the Jewish Holocaust in Germany’—Its continuing war on females—Its continuing war on homosexuals—he should think again.”
  • “I invite you to pitty our generation who squandered their youth: believing that an angel appeared to Mary.— Mary whose body, dogma, other angels carried to heaven—that heaven which Catholic Australians know as “the other place”.

The Catholic League receives hate mail in all forms, including flyers from groups like this that don’t even exist. The only thing we can do is laugh.


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Written by Bill