Carfin Grotto has launched a crowdfunding campaign to cover the costs of reparing the fire damage.
Catholics are a minority in Scotland, comprising just 16% of the total population of 5.5 million people.
But the Catholic Parliamentary Office of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland said in 2019 that Catholics were “disproportionately targeted in terms of religiously aggravated offending.”
A Scottish government report found that Catholicism was “the religion that was most often the subject of reported abuse, with 319 charges for 2017-18,” out of a total of 642 charges.
Another official study said that there were 660 religiously aggravated charges recorded in 2019-20 — 24% higher than in 2018-19.
A spate of recent incidents has alarmed Scotland’s Catholics.
In July, a priest was attacked by a man wielding a glass bottle as he prayed at a Catholic cathedral in Edinburgh but escaped without injury.
In August, a man was arrested and charged in connection with a devastating fire at St. Simon’s, Partick, a 163-year-old Catholic church in Glasgow.
Vandals struck at St. Patrick’s Church in Wishaw, North Lanarkshire, in the early hours of Oct. 18, damaging plant pots.
Mallon said: “We do not wish to close the current 24/7 access to the Grotto. It has been a place of prayer and solace for over 99 years, a welcome place to all.”
“However, we need to tighten security as we hear almost daily attacks, vandalism, and damage to Catholic churches across Scotland. Catholics on the ground are concerned and believe more needs to be done at a national level.”
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