All cases

Another Act of Vandalism in the Church of Lubliniec

August 10, 2021, Poland

An unknown perpetrator has knocked over the candles and the candlestick in the Saint Nicholas' Church in Lubliniec. The incident took place on the morning of August 7, 2021. It was reported by a churchgoer who noticed the broken votive chandelier. Police are investigating.

Polish Police Apprehend Man who Desecrated Church in Lubliniec

August 10, 2021, Poland

The Police arrested a 39-year-old male, resident of Lubliniec. The man was apprehended on 9 August and is accused of having knocked over and broken a votive candle holder in the Saint Nicholas Church in the city centre. According to a police spokesperson the man admitted to the accusations raised against him. He was charged with the crime and is now facing a punishment of up to five years of imprisonment.

Stolen Crucifix of Church in Vada Recovered

August 10, 2021, Italy

A stolen crucifix from the church in Vada was recovered and brought back to its place. The small sacred object was stolen from the altar of the parish of San Leopoldo for unknown reasons. A passerby spotted the gold-plated object in a bush, not far from the parish. Police were informed and the crucifix has now returned to its former place. However, the investigation to find the culprit is still ongoing.

Statue of the Virgin Mary in Tramoyes Desecrated with Degrading Drawings

August 10, 2021, France

Unknown perpetrators desecrated the statue of the Virgin Mary in Tramoyes. It is reported that the face of the Virgin was painted with a felt-tip pen, the incident occurred on 10 August. The culprit drew glasses and a moustache onto the statue, which is located near a church. A complaint was filed and the police were notified.

Catholic Priest Brutally Murdered in France

August 9, 2021, France

60-year-old priest, Olivier Maire, was murdered on 9 August. The alleged murderer is 40-year-old Emmanuel Abayisenga, who is currently under judicial supervision for the alleged burning of the Nantes Cathedral in July 2020. He is said to have turned himself in, to the police after the crime. The crime took place in Mortagne-sur-Sèvre, which is about 60 kilometres from Nantes.

Female Street Preacher Wins Legal Challenge

August 9, 2021, United Kingdom

Christian street preacher Hazel Lewis, 49, won her legal case after being accused of hate crimes and being falsely arrested by the local police. On 12 February 2020, the preacher was arrested for allegedly making homophobic and racist comments and was held in custody for several hours. Although Lewis provided audio evidence proving her innocence, the police went on to charge her for the accusations made against her. In court Judge Julia Newton ruled in favour of Lewis stating there is "no case to answer".

Update: Police Questioned Man Who Killed Priest in Saint-Laurent sur Sèvre

August 9, 2021, France

Police are questioning the alleged murderer of 61-year-old French priest Father Olivier Maire. 40-year-old Rwandan immigrant, Emmanuel Abayisenga, claimed to have killed the 61-year-old priest, who took him in and sheltered him, for currently unknown reasons. The incident happened on 9 August in Saint-Laurent-sur-Sèvre. Abayisenga was on bail as he was awaiting his trial for the alleged burning of the Cathedral of Nante in 2020.

Pope Received Threatening Letter Containing Bullets

August 9, 2021, Italy

Italian law enforcement is investigating a suspicious envelope addressed to Pope Francis. The letter that contained three bullets, was discovered by postal employees at a mail sorting facility near Milan on 9 August. According to a paramilitary police spokesperson, the envelope had been sent from France and was addressed by hand in pen to “The Pope, Vatican City, St Peter’s Square, Rome”. Apart from the bullets, which police presumes to be for a pistol, the letter contained a message referring to financial operation at the Vatican.

Update: Man Who Sent Letter with Bullets to Pope Francis Identified

August 9, 2021, Italy

Italian law enforcement managed to identify the source of the mysterious letter containing three 9 millimetre calibre bullets from the Flobert type, addressed to the Pontiff at the Holy See. The man's identity is said to be already known to the Vatican gendarmes, who are currently coordinating and evaluating the situation. Although identified, police are still working on the individual's whereabouts.

Police Apprehend Thieves after Repeated Thefts in Montebelluna Region

August 9, 2021, Italy

Police in Montebelluna caught the thieve who was stealing offerings from several churches. A 47-year-old male already known to the police, was charged with aggravated theft for stealing the offerings from different churches in the Montebelluna region. The thefts all happened over a time period of several months. The culprit was caught while leaving another church by a patrol of military officers on 5 August.

MP Calls for Save Zones around Abortion Clinics

August 9, 2021, Ireland

Stephen Donnelly is "fully committed" to introduce safe access zones at abortion-providing facilities, thereby censoring Pro-life groups. Donnelly's statement followed a publication from the Irish Department of Health, which stated the current public order legislation had abolished plans to deal with anti-abortion protests at clinics and GP surgeries. In 2018 Ireland liberalised legislation surrounding abortion. Christian organisations fear for the freedom of speech in Ireland.

Under Investigation: New Irish Conversation Therapie Bill Poses Problems for Therapists

August 9, 2021, Ireland

Irish therapists fear for the consequences their work could have in future. A proposal forwarded by Fintan Warfield seeks to amend gender dysphoria to the already existing law banning conversion therapy. His proposal seeks to criminalise “any practice or treatment by any person that seeks to change, suppress and/or eliminate a person’s sexual orientation, gender identity and/or gender expression”. Therapists fear that this approach endangers the openness, efficacy and ethics of therapy in areas related with and to gender identity.

Church Vandalised in Casal Velino

August 7, 2021, Italy

Unknown perpetrators vandalised the church of San Matteo ad Duo Flumina in Casal Velino. The vandals damaged the altar, causing great sorrow among the community, who worked to maintain the spirit of the little church. According to the local press, the incident dates back to 7 August. A complaint has been filed by a member of the 'I Fedeli di San Matteo' association. The police obtained video surveillance and are currently investigating.

Hillsong Pastor Expresses 'Shock' about Sex Abuse Concealment Allegations

August 6, 2021, International

Lead pastor of the global multisite Hillsong Church, Brian Houston, is accused of concealing the sex abuse of his late father Frank Houston, who died in 2004. Australian police officials announced that they were charging the 67-year-old Houston with "concealing child sex offences". Houston expressed his surprise at the allegations raised against him, stating: "These charges have come as a shock to me given how transparent I’ve always been about this matter, I vehemently profess my innocence and will defend these charges, and I welcome the opportunity to set the record straight.”

Granite Cross Near Chapel of Pietat in Lamarque-Pontacq Vandalised

August 6, 2021, France

A cross made of granite with the purpose to surmount the tomb of a clergyman was broken near the chapel of Pietat in Lamarque-Pontacq. The damage was noticed and reported by a local farmer. The chapel of Pietat was built in the 16th century and is a Marian shrine. Masses are regularly performed in the chapel. Police are investigating.

Two Cemeteries Vandalized in Pau

August 6, 2021, France

Two cemeteries were desecrated in Pau. The two cemeteries are the urban cemetery and the Bessières cemetery. An 87-year-old resident noticed that objects are being taken from both cemeteries. The theft was reported to the police.

Update: Italian Homophobia Bill Divides Society and Stipulates Fear

August 6, 2021, Italy

The "Zan Bill" is still awaiting a decision from the senate. While it waits for a decision the public keeps to be deeply divided over the matter. Opposers of the bill fear that people holding a different view on lgbt+ issues could be penalised simply by publicly making a cross sign and therefore either face high fines or a prison sentence. The Bill has been approved in the lower house of the parliament in November 2020 but still needs to pass the Senate to become law. It aims to add amongst others sexual orientation and gender identity to the already existing law surrounding hate crimes and discrimination.

Christian Police Officer and Pastor loses Legal Challenge

August 6, 2021, United Kingdom

Former police officer, Winston Roderick, took legal action against his colleagues on grounds of religious discrimination. An employment tribunal under Judge Rhian Brace dismissed all of his claims on the grounds of Roderick, who is also a pastor, being too sensitive. According to Judge Brace, the comments were never made. Roderick also filed for two other cases, which were equally dismissed.

Update: Fire at Church in Marsala, Suspect Confessed

August 6, 2021, Italy

Italian Police apprehended 52-year-old Guiseppe Montalto, the prime suspect in the Marsala Church fire. Montalto allegedly set fire to the altar and the tabernacle of the church of the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Fatima. According to a police spokesperson, the suspect confessed to the crime stating "he was the author of the fire and that the insane gesture was the result of a rapture due to personal reasons". The police found that Montalto used a can of petrol to set fire to the church he and his wife frequented regularly. In addition, the police also found two bombs that would have caused devastating damage. He was charged with aggravated arson and is now awaiting his trial.

New Netflix Documentary Slams Christianity

August 6, 2021, International

Netflix's new documentary 'Pray Away' is filled with lies says, Jefferey McCall, a former Transwoman, who found freedom in Jesus. The documentary premiered on 3 August and focuses on the work of Exodus International, a US-based Christian organisation, which sought to “help people who wished to limit their homosexual desires” in the 1990s and early 2000s. It additionally portrays the experiences of people who went through conversion therapy lead by Exodus International. McCall, who is the founder of Freedom March, states that secular media is equating Christianity and his "freedom marches" with conversion therapy.