Update on unrest: Tabernacle stolen, Catholic church defaced, pregnancy clinic vandalized

St. Bartholomew the Apostle Catholic Church The tabernacle belonging to St. Bartholomew the Apostle Catholic Church in Katy, Texas, was reported stolen on May 9, 2022. | Screenshot from YouTube video

More criminal acts targeting Catholic churches and pro-life advocates were reported Monday, after a Mother’s Day weekend marked by unrest in multiple locations in the U.S. tied to anger over a possible Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade.

In one of the latest incidents, the pastor a Catholic church in Katy, Texas, reported on May 9 that its tabernacle had been stolen from the church overnight. It was not known whether the theft had any connection to a pro-abortion group’s recent threats to disrupt Catholic Masses on Sunday and burn the Eucharist.

“We don't know who did it but the police are investigating. Please pray for us and for those who committed this criminal sacrilege,” Father Christopher Plant of St. Bartholomew the Apostle Catholic Church, located in the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, tweeted May 9. Additional information was unavailable prior to publication Monday.

In another incident, a Catholic church in northern Colorado known for its active pro-life ministry was vandalized with pro-abortion graffiti over the weekend. 

Vandalism at St. John XXIII parish in Fort Collins, Colo., May 7, 2022. Eileen Pulse

Vandalism at St. John XXIII parish in Fort Collins, Colo., May 7, 2022. Eileen Pulse

The exterior of St. John XXIII parish in Fort Collins, about an hour’s drive north of Denver, was defaced with red spray-painted inscriptions of “My Body My Choice” and a symbol that appears to be an “A” signifying “anarchy.” Police said the incident took place around 1:15 am on Saturday, May 7, and that some “exterior glass panels” were also broken. 

In addition, Twitter user Rev. Dean Nelson tweeted May 9 that a pro-life Northern Virginia pregnancy resource center was vandalized overnight. CNA confirmed that the clinic is First Care Women’s Health clinic in Manassas, Virginia. A photo shows black spray paint written on the side of the building saying, “ABORTION IS A RIGHT,” and “LIARS.”

Becky Sheetz, CEO of First Care Women's Health, told CNA on Monday that "we are not fighting flesh and blood. We're fighting dark demonic forces. And you know that when you get into this work. " She added, "This targeting is a symbol of our effectiveness."

Protesters blocked in Seattle

Another incident Sunday involved a heated confrontation between a security guard and protesters outside St. James Cathedral in Seattle, captured in a video posted online by The Post Millennial.

The video shows that as protesters begin walking up the church steps toward the security guard, who stands in their path, one woman falls down the stairs, which prompts other protesters to accuse the security guard of having pushed her. The video does not show whether the security guard pushes her or not.

The protesters then shout expletives at the security guard. A police officer then steps between the security guard and the protesters on the steps. One of the protesters can be heard on the video saying that the group planned to deliver a stack of coat hangers to the church, an apparent reference to claims that overturning Roe would signal a return to illicit “back alley” abortions.

In a statement to CNA, the Archdiocese of Seattle disputed the claim that the demonstrator was pushed down the stairs.

“Given the news last week that pro-abortion groups may protest during Masses this weekend, the Archdiocese of Seattle issued a communication to all parishes on Friday to alert them to this possibility,” the statement said.

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“Over the weekend we received notice that a group was planning to protest at St. James Cathedral on Sunday. When protestors arrived they were asked to remain on the sidewalk and not enter the Cathedral since Mass had started. One woman rushed up the stairs into the security guard in an attempt to slip by him. In defense, he held up his arm and she flopped backwards. She was not pushed in any way,” the statement continued. “The Seattle Police, who were called ahead of time, witnessed the entire scene and wrote a report deeming her actions an assault on the security guard.”

The Seattle Police Department did not respond to CNA’s request for information prior to publication.

Biden condemns arson attack

In one of the previously reported incidents, the office of a pro-life organization in Madison, Wisconsin, was set on fire Sunday morning after at least one Molotov cocktail was thrown at the building. The fire was quickly put out by the Madison Fire Department. No one was hurt, police said. Graffiti left on the building’s exterior said, “If abortions aren’t safe than you aren’t either."

In a statement, the White House condemned the attack on the headquarters of the group, Wisconsin Family Action. 

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"President Biden strongly condemns this attack and political violence of any stripe. The President has made clear throughout his time in public life that Americans have the fundamental right to express themselves under the Constitution, whatever their point of view. But that expression must be peaceful and free of violence, vandalism, or attempts to intimidate," the White House statement said.

Anger among supporters of legalized abortion erupted last week when Politico published a leaked draft of a preliminary opinion written by conservative associate justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. in a Mississippi abortion case. Politico reported that four other conservative justices were poised to join Alito in overturning the landmark 1973 ruling in Roe and another decision nearly 20 years later in Planned Parenthood v. Casey that affirmed Roe’s legalization of abortion nationwide.

In response, a pro-abortion group, Ruth Sent Us, called on abortion advocates to disrupt Catholic Masses on Mother’s Day. The group also posted the addresses of several conversative justices and called for rallies outside their homes. Protesters demonstrated outside the homes of Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh on Saturday.

Ruth Sent Us called for another protest outside Alito’s home on Monday night.

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