CNA Staff, Nov 9, 2020 / 04:01 pm (CNA).- A historic Chicago parish was tagged with graffiti over the weekend, and a statue of the Virgin Mary on the parish grounds was defaced with spray paint.
Though the perpetrator is unknown and remains at large, the statue of Mary has already been cleaned and restored.
Parishioners at St. Mary of Perpetual Help – All Saints St. Anthony Parish, located in the Bridgeport neighborhood of Chicago, noticed the graffiti around 11 a.m. Nov. 8.
Images broadcast on local news show “GOD IS DEAD” scrawled on an outside wall of the church in pink spray paint. Another wall had “BIDEN” spray painted on it in smaller letters.
A statue of Mary outside the parish hall was sprayed in the face with pink and black paint. The church shared a picture Nov. 9 on social media of the Mary statue, saying it had already been “cleaned up and restored.”
Local detectives are investigating the incident, NBC5 reported.
The church building dates to 1886— completed in 1891— and the parish began circa 1880 to serve the city’s Polish Catholics. It underwent major renovations in 2002.
The church’s pastor and the Archdiocese of Chicago could not be reached for further comment.
Numerous attacks on Catholic art and churches in the U.S. have been documented throughout 2020— including three separate desecrations of Marian statues in the same weekend in July.
At least three vandalism attacks have happened against images of Mary this year in New York City alone.
The Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in downtown Denver was defaced with graffiti during a protest June 1, with rioters spray-painting slogans such as “GOD IS DEAD” and “PEDOFILES” [sic] on the church’s exterior.
A statue of the Virgin Mary was beheaded in Gary, Indiana on the evening of July 2 or morning of July 3.
On July 11, a Florida man was arrested after he reportedly admitted to crashing a minivan into Queen of Peace Catholic Church in Ocala, Florida, and then setting it on fire while parishioners were inside. No one was injured.
Also on July 11, a 249-year-old California mission founded by St. Junipero Serra burned in a fire being investigated as arson.
The same day, a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary was attacked and beheaded at a parish in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Three days later, vandals beheaded a statue of Christ outside Good Shepherd Catholic Church, in Southwest Miami-Dade County, the same day that a statue of the Blessed Virgin at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Colorado Springs was tagged with red paint in an act of vandalism.
At Our Lady of the Assumption Church in Bloomingburg, New York, a monument to unborn children killed by abortion was knocked over the weekend of July 18.
In late August, vandals beheaded a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary at Holy Family Parish in Citrus Heights, California. A statue of the Ten Commandments, placed at the parish “in dedication to all those who have lost their life through abortion” was grafittied with a swastika.
In September, a man went on an hours-long vandalism spree at Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church in Tioga, Louisiana, breaking at least six windows, beating several metal doors, and breaking numerous statues around the parish grounds. He was later arrested and charged.
The same month, vandals toppled a statue of St. Therese outside St. Therese of the Child Jesus Catholic Parish in Midvale, Utah.
Later in September, a man was charged for smashing a 90-year-old statue of Christ inside St. Patrick Cathedral in El Paso, Texas.
Also in September, a man wielded a baseball bat on the grounds of a Catholic seminary in Texas and damaged a crucifix and several doors, but caused no harm to seminary students.
St. Peter Chaldean Catholic Cathedral in El Cajon, California on Sept. 25 was defaced with graffiti depicting “pentagrams, upside down crosses, white power, swastikas,” as well as slogans such as “Biden 2020,” and “BLM” (Black Lives Matter).
The same evening, Our Mother of Perpetual Help Catholic Church, also in El Cajon, was similarly attacked, with the pastor discovering spray-painted swastikas on an exterior wall of the church the next day.
In mid-October, vandals knocked down a statue of Mary and a statue of Christ outside St. Germaine Catholic Church in Prescott Valley, Arizona, about 90 miles north of Phoenix.
Throughout the summer, numerous depictions of St. Junipero Serra, mostly in California, have been forcibly pulled down by mobs of protestors.
A crowd of about 100 people tore down another St. Junípero Serra statue in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park the evening of June 19. Rioters pulled down a statue of St. Junipero Serra in Sacramento on July 4.
A Oct. 12 protest at Mission San Rafael Arcangel began peacefully but then turned violent, as participants defaced the Junipero Serra statue of the saint with red paint before dragging it to the ground with nylon straps and ropes.
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