A statue of Jesus was vandalized this past weekend at St. Thomas More Catholic Church in Narragansett, Rhode Island.
“It’s kind of like a sucker punch,” Fr. Marcel Taillon, pastor of St. Thomas More, told CNA. “People are in shock. They just can’t understand why somebody would do that.”
The act of vandalism is believed to have occurred on the night of May 8-9, according to Fr. Taillon and Narragansett Police. The hand of the statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus was broken off. Fr. Taillon said he discovered the broken hand on a Sunday afternoon walk when he was praying.
Taillon told CNA he wanted the mystery of the perpetrator to be solved. “I just hope they can come forward so we can honestly have a chat and not press charges,” he said.
The parish plans to restore the hand of the statue in the near future, Fr. Taillon told CNA.
Parishioner Bob Martin told CNA the vandalism was “very sad.”
“It’s very typical of what’s happening in this world today-disrespect for Christians and the Catholic religion,” Martin said.
The vandalism of the statue comes a week after another Sacred Heart of Jesus statue in Waltham, Massachusetts – just over an hour away from Narragansett – was vandalised. The hands of both statues were attacked.
Other acts of vandalism have taken place at churches around the country in recent months.
In April, the face of a statue of Christ at Saint Mary’s Cathedral in the Fargo diocese was painted black. On April 21, a man used a sledgehammer to damage a mural of Our Lady Guadalupe at St. Elisabeth Catholic Church in Van Nuys, California. On March 13, the sidewalk outside Saint Joseph’s Parish on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C. was vandalized with what appeared to be satanic graffiti.
In early February three statues of angels at St. Pius X Church in El Paso, Texas, were toppled over and broken.
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In early January, a statue of St. Therese of Lisieux was defaced with an upside-down cross, the word “satan,” and a pentagram, at St. Theresa of the Child Jesus parish in Abbeville, Louisiana.
Catholic Churches and statues throughout the United States were targeted for arson or vandalism throughout 2020 as well. Sometimes, churches were damaged amid mass riots and protests, such as in Kenosha, Wisconsin, while other churches appeared to be the targets of random acts of vandalism.