San Gabriel, CA – A surveillance video showed a man walking through the cemetery of the San Gabriel Mission methodically destroying statues and gravestones with religious imagery. Two statues of Jesus were knocked down, one was beaten with a rock severing the arms and head. The vandal used a garden hose as a lasso attempting to pull down a third statue. A tombstone with an image of Jesus on it was destroyed, and a cross was broken off of another statue. The San Gabriel Mission was founded by St. Junípero Serra in 1771, and was vandalized a week after Pope Francis announced his canonization.
Woodstock, IL – Marian Central Catholic High School hosted the regional high school girls basketball tournament. The championship game was won by Woodstock High School, a local public school, when they defeated another public school. Following the game, the players of Woodstock High School attached a Barbie doll to one of the crucifixes in the Catholic school’s gym. The girls, still in uniform, were seen pointing at the cross, smiling and laughing at the Barbie doll – the team’s symbol of “girl power” – stuck to the crucifix.
When the photo surfaced on social media Woodstock High School’s athletic director issued an apology, and reached out to administrators of the Catholic school. “Our intent was certainly not to insult, or denigrate, Marian Central and its family,” Glen Wilson said in a statement. “We apologize that the act could solicit a perception of disrespect to faith, one’s school or the community they represent,” said Wilson.
February – June
Tucson, AZ – A pair of burglars stole chalices from Our Lady Mother of Sorrows Catholic Church, Ambrose Catholic Church and Saint Pius X Catholic Church, as well as burglarizing a synagogue. The pair was arrested and police were progressively recovering the stolen property and returning it to the owners.
Buffalo, NY – A thief stole the tabernacle filled with consecrated hosts from the altar at St. Martin of Tours parish. The 40 pound tabernacle was made of bronze and was valued at up to $5000. Police, and the church’s pastor, speculated that the thief was a drug addict looking to sell the tabernacle for the value of the metal.
Walkerton, IN – The owners of Memories Pizza had to close their doors for eight days after receiving a hostile reaction for agreeing with Indiana’s religious liberty law. The O’Connor family has owned the pizzeria for nine years, and said it would not provide pizzas for a gay wedding. “We’re not discriminating against anyone,” explained Crystal O’Connor, “that’s just our belief and anyone has the right to believe in anything.”
Ms. O’Connor would have had no ground to stand on, either morally or legally, were she to say that her store would not serve gays. But she did not say that. In fact, she explicitly said she would never refuse gays. What she said is that if her family were to service a gay wedding, it would have to violate its sincerely held religious convictions.
Not only did Memories Pizza receive threatening phone calls, but anti-Christian comments and pictures of nude men were sent to the owners.
West Bloomfield, MI – Two suspects were arrested after they had been caught on camera breaking into St. Thomas Chaldean Catholic Church, damaging a collection box, and eventually breaking into a safe and taking funds set aside for military families. The thieves entered and left the church a total of 3 times. First unable to break open a collection box they returned with tools to try and fish money out of it. After locating a safe, they returned a third time with power tools which they used to open the safe and steal the money.
In a not-so-veiled threat of economic reprisal, IBM sent a letter to Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal warning that a pending bill to safeguard religious freedom would create a “hostile environment” for the company’s employees. Offering not a shred of evidence to substantiate its claim, IBM charged that Louisiana’s Marriage and Conscience Act “legally protects discrimination based on same-sex marriage status,” and would if enacted make it “much harder” for IBM “to attract talent to Louisiana.” The Louisiana bill was simply based on a similar federal law as well as other state laws.
Norman, OK – A statue of the Blessed Mother outside St. Thomas More church was vandalized with black paint. The face of the statue was covered in paint, and the word “Erzuile,” a voodoo spirit, was left at the shrine.
New Orleans, LA – A burglar was caught on camera breaking into a Catholic Community Center in the Faubourg Marigny. The man broke windows at the center, and stopped to cover a security camera with a rag, before ransacking two offices and stealing $1,700 in donations from a safe.
San Francisco, CA – A bronze statue of Jesus weighing more than 200 pounds was stolen from the garden in front of the Church of the Transfiguration on East Castro Boulevard.
Culver City, CA – An NFL fan wrote to Steve Bornstein, the NFL’s Chief Executive Officer and President, and copied the Catholic League, to complain of correspondent Albert Breer’s repeated offensive use of Jesus’ name in vain or as a profanity. Bill Donohue responded by writing to Mr. Bornstein, “Surely a conversation with Mr. Breer is in order: his repeated invocation of the name of Jesus in an offensive manner is not something that the NFL should tolerate.”
Chicago, IL – Saint Hyacinth School was broken into and the principal’s office ransacked, while a safe containing more than $5,000 was stolen. The school was slated to be closed on June 30, and the money had been raised for a scholarship fund to help enroll children in other Catholic schools when their facility closed.
Athens, OH – St. Paul Catholic Church was broken into at night and the altar linens on all five altars set on fire. The fires damaged linens, altars and surrounding carpets but did not spread further. Police apprehended a suspect who confessed to the crime and was charged with aggravated arson.
Santa Fe, NM – A statue of the Blessed Mother at Rosario Chapel was desecrated, with the eyes gouged out, rosaries hanging around its neck burned, and a pentagram carved into its forehead. When the vandalism was discovered, the statue was restored and it was reconsecrated during an annual procession on June 14 by the Archbishop of Santa Fe.
Torrington, CT – A 33-year old man was charged with vandalizing St. Francis Church. After causing a disturbance in the garden, he entered the church and tipped over statues, candle holders and plants and did other damage. He then pulled a fire alarm and fled. He was picked up shortly afterward and charged with desecration of property, criminal mischief and breach of peace.
Brooklyn, NY – A bronze statue of the Blessed Mother that stood outside the parish house of St. Charles Borromeo Church was displaced and damaged. Security cameras caught one man wresting the statue from its pedestal while his companion filmed the incident on his cell phone. The statue had been commissioned from France in 1954; estimated damage may run as high as $6000.
Dowagiac, MI – A man broke into Holy Maternity of Mary Church and damaged doors, a window and other areas of the church, as well as damaging the safe in an apparent effort to break in. He was apprehended and faced a number of charges.
Covina, CA – Sacred Heart Church and School in Covina were vandalized during the night, prompting administrators to cancel classes. The vandalism consisted of spray-painted tags, which included vulgarities, references to God and Satan, and drawings of body parts.
Providence, RI – A wave of vandalism against churches saw spray-painted graffiti left at the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul and at St. Adalbert’s Church, while at Our Lady of Rosary Church a granite pulpit was smashed and a rosary stolen from a statue of the Blessed Mother.
Las Cruces, NM – A bomb was detonated in a trash can outside Holy Cross Catholic Church during Sunday Mass. This occurred about 20 minutes after another bomb had gone off in a mailbox near the administrative entrance of Calvary Baptist. There were no injuries. No one claimed responsibility for the blasts and no motive is known.
Claremont, NH – An 18-year-old man and juvenile companion broke into St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church and caused thousands of dollars worth of damage. The pair emptied fire extinguishers with the fire retardant powder settling into carpeting, pews, and books. They also entered the sacristy, where unconsecrated hosts were later found scattered on the floor; some had been chewed and spit out. Posted graffiti included “Satan was here.” Both suspects were taken into custody. This marked the second time in three years the church had been targeted for vandalism.
Trenton, NJ – The largest insurance company in New Jersey “schemed in secret” to purposely exclude Catholic hospitals from partaking in a new plan that will lure customers with cheaper premiums, said the president of the Catholic Healthcare partnership, Sister Patricia Codey. She cited religious discrimination as to why seven out of eight Catholic hospital systems were not permitted to join Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey’s new line of health plans that will be made available in 2016. She highlighted how a majority of Catholic hospitals scored high on the Leapfrog’s Group national safety record card.
Cambridge, MA – A man dressed as a priest walked around the inside of St. Sava Serbian Church on Alewife Brook Parkway and committed a lewd act on the altar. Cambridge police spokesman Jeremy Warnick said “He stripped himself down to being naked and then performed a sexual act on the altar stage.” According to police, the unidentified man entered the church around 3 a.m. and discovered the priest’s clothes. He wore the clothes for 45 minutes prior to stripping down.