Union City, CA – On Ash Wednesday, vandals attacked St. Anne’s Church, splitting and toppling an eight-foot cross from its cement foundation. Statues of the Holy Family were spray-painted black. The words “Carpe Deum” and “Satan” as well as four-foot pentagrams were spray painted on the outside walls. Because a church was defaced with Satanic symbols on Ash Wednesday, the police classified the vandalism as a hate crime.
Warner Robins, GA – Vandals sprayed fire extinguishers in the sanctuary and narthex of Sacred Heart Catholic Church, leaving behind chemical residue. The parish was preparing to celebrate its fifth anniversary in its new building.
Palisades Park, NJ – A statue of St. Nicholas was decapitated by vandals at St. Nicholas Catholic Church.
Hoboken, NJ – Thieves stole copper piping from Our Lady of St. Ann’s Church. The theft was discovered when a parish building manager inspected the building after hearing that, nearby, Our Lady of Grace Church had copper pipes stolen.
Chicago, IL – During Holy Week, vandals attacked a nearly 7-foot copper cross that had stood at St. Mary of Perpetual Help Catholic Church since 1895. The pastor said the cross was “all bent out of shape and punched in.” He also noted, “Crime occurs in every community but this is such a recognizable object. It’s very sacred.”
Topeka, KS – Mount Calvary Cemetery, maintained by Catholic Cemeteries of Northeast Kansas, saw vases, statues and grave markers ravaged by vandals over two consecutive nights. Police reports estimated the damage at $15,000, with roughly a dozen markers damaged in each raid.
Santa Cruz, CA – Vandals attacked The Holy Cross Church in what police called a possible hate crime because the walls were found defaced with “anti-Church” messages. The messages, which included “This is Ohlone land” and “This was made by slaves,” referred to the history of the parish as home of the Mission Santa Cruz, founded in 1791 as part of Franciscan missions. A spokesman for the Diocese of Monterey said that although the church has seen attacks in the past, they came nowhere near to the severity of this assault, which included broken windows as well as doors, walls and statues defaced by paint, and destroyed artifacts such as a historic baptismal font. Even the church’s bell tower was spray-painted. The vandals hit not only the main church, but also the church museum, an adjacent residence serving pregnant women, and a garden area.
After a private e-mail exchange between Bill Donohue and Rabbi Arthur Waskow was leaked to the press, the Catholic League quickly set the record straight.
In a June 11 Huffington Post article entitled, “Whose Religious Freedom is Under Attack?,” Rabbi Waskow condemned the U.S. bishops for standing up for the First Amendment rights of Catholics. Not content to act civilly, he said of the bishops, “For these men, ‘religion’ happens only in the genitals.” In the same article, Waskow cited “Vatican arrogance” for its inquiry into an internal Church matter, i.e., the Vatican’s investigation of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious.
Bill Donohue wrote to Waskow and took him to task. In response, Waskow distorted Donohue’s citation of Ed Koch’s words on the great friendship between Jews and Catholics and “leaked” the misrepresentation to the press.
Donohue’s comment about Ed Koch saying Jews should not make enemies with their Catholic friends was a summation of Mayor Koch’s statement made in January 2012 before a Jewish audience: “We’re 13 million Jews in the whole world—less than one-tenth of 1 percent. And we need allies. The best ally we can have is the Catholic Church.” On January 30, we publicly commended him for his remark, adding, “The Catholic League is proud to stand with the Jewish community in this time of unrelenting attacks on both Catholics and Jews.” We also said that Ed Koch was “one of the greatest friends that Catholics have ever had.”
Rockford, IL – A school bus owned by Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Academy, famous for its pro-life images and words imploring people “to pray to end abortion,” was fire-bombed. There was speculation that the bombing was in response to the shutting down of an abortion mill in the area.
New York, NY – Actor Alec Baldwin got into a confrontation that almost turned violent with a photographer on a New York City street. Out of nowhere, Baldwin blurted, “I know you got raped by a priest or something.” There was no context in which it would make any sense for Baldwin to react this way. The comment suggested his animus against Catholicism is so deep that virtually anything can set him off. This was not the first time Baldwin had gone off the rails, but it was the first time he was known to libel priests.
In his talk on the 47th weekly Torah portion, Rabbi Hershel Schachter, described in the Jewish Week as a “much-revered teacher, decisor and one of the most respected religious authorities in the Orthodox community,” accused Orthodox rabbis in Israel without naming them of idolatry and conversion. He wrote that it was “very painful to see that there is missionary activity taking place in Eretz Yisroel,” noting that the Catholic Church rejected modern Zionism because the Jews were no longer “chosen” for not having accepted Jesus as the messiah. In other words, according to Rabbi Schachter, the Catholic Church is anti-Semitic and does not tolerate, as one scholar put it, the “Jewish nature of the state of Israel.”
His baseless charge of anti-Semitism was not only a bigoted injustice to the Catholic Church, which, under Pope Pius XII, helped save hundreds of thousands of Jews from the Holocaust, but also to Jews who have experienced and are experiencing real anti-Semitism. His bigoted words were an offense to the cordial relations that exist between Christians and Jews.
In response, a coalition of 35 American institutions fostering Jewish-Christian relations issued a statement criticizing the rabbi for “blatant inaccuracies” and “inflammatory language.” The statement provided a lengthy list of errors that he would not abide in the writings of others, making his bias all the more apparent to the skeptics.
This year, Pope Benedict XVI began tweeting in six languages from his own personal Twitter account, @Pontifex. Even before a single message had been sent from his account, Twitter users were already tweeting hatred in anticipation.
The following is a selection of the most egregious examples. All appear in their original form:
• “Sweet, Pope Benedict is getting a Twitter account. Everyone get your best bile and hate ready to chuck his way!”
• “Hey Pope, maybe you can start by apologizing to everyone”
• “Hahaha The Pope Has Twitter Accounts Now Let’s Hit This Bitch Up With Some Hate Tweets.”
• “The Pope will fit right in on Twitter. We too have no idea how to responsibly handle allegations of pedophilia.”
• “Hey @Pontifex hahaha f*** off pope go back to middle ages n take ur backwards mind set w/ u”
• “OMG I can’t wait to f*** with the Pope”
• “The Pope is getting his own twitter handle?” Hide your little boys and call Chris Hansen!”
• “Molesting 3-year old boys just like that paedophile Faggot pope Benedict XVI does #leaveitin2012”
• “The Pope is getting Twitter today. Another way to follow little boys I suppose.”
Sulphur, LA – A sledgehammer-wielding vandal smashed about a dozen statues at two parishes, Our Lady of Prompt Succor and Our Lady of La Salette. At both, the Blessed Sacrament was spared desecration. It was reported that a good deal of the art destroyed would be hard to replace. Some of the statues at Our Lady of Prompt Succor were about 100 years old; at Our Lady of La Salette, the crucifix vandalized was about 80 years old.