Washington D.C., Oct 14, 2021 / 14:01 pm
The U.S. bishops’ conference on Thursday reported that churches and Catholic sites have been targeted in more than 100 acts of vandalism, arson, and other destruction since May 2020.
“These incidents of vandalism have ranged from the tragic to the obscene, from the transparent to the inexplicable. There remains much we do not know about this phenomenon, but at a minimum, they underscore that our society is in sore need of God’s grace,” stated Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York and Archbishop Paul Coakley of Oklahoma City on Thursday, Oct. 14.
Dolan is the chair of the U.S. bishops’ religious liberty committee, while Coakley is the chair of the bishops’ domestic justice and human development committee. Both episcopal committees have advocated for increased funding of a federal non-profit security program, citing a rise in attacks on houses of worship.
The conference began tracking such attacks on churches in May 2020, and now says that at least 101 incidents have occurred in 29 states since then. Incidents include graffiti being sprayed on church walls, Catholic statues beheaded or smashed, gravestones desecrated with swastikas, and arson.