WASHINGTON — The Oct. 10 vandalization of Denver’s cathedral basilica that resulted in satanic and other “hateful graffiti” being scrawled on its doors and at least one statue brought to 100 the number of incidents of arson, vandalism and other destruction that have taken place at Catholic sites across the United States since May 2020.
That month, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee for Religious Liberty began tracking such incidents, according to an Oct. 14 USCCB news release.
“In all cases, we must reach out to the perpetrators with prayer and forgiveness,” Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York, chairman of the Committee for Religious Liberty, and Archbishop Paul S. Coakley of Oklahoma City, chairman of the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, said in a joint statement included in the release.
They called on the nation’s elected officials “to step forward and condemn these attacks.”
“Where the motive was retribution for some past fault of ours, we must reconcile; where misunderstanding of our teachings has caused anger toward us, we must offer clarity; but this destruction must stop. This is not the way,” they said.
“These are not mere property crimes — this is the degradation of visible representations of our Catholic faith. These are acts of hate.”