Street preacher Ryan Williamson from Loughbrickland was arrested for alleged hate speech, while preaching in Larne on 10 August. Subsequently, MP Mr. Wilson expressed on social media that “police probably didn’t handle this very well”, for there is video footage of Williamson preaching and his arrest circulating on social media. Williamson was released 30 minutes later. However, the police are being harshly criticised. Williams stated to have received much support from the local community.
Between 13-14 August, three graves in Saint-Jean-de-Muzols cemetery were vandalised. The incident has been reported to the police, who are now investigating the case.
Unknown perpetrators vandalised the church of the Most Holy Name of Mary in Laskowa. The incident is said to have happened sometime overnight from 11 to 12 August. It has been reported that the culprit vandalised the church and stole money and parts of the church's furniture. Damage has been estimated to be 2,200 Euros. Police were informed and are currently looking for the perpetrator.
In the night from 18 to 19 July, an unknown person stole a safe from the church "Queen Mary" in Lüdenscheid. In the latest event, the police managed to find the safe, which was discovered by a passer-by in a near park. The police are now looking for any possible eyewitnesses. The 200-kilos heavy piece will be returned to the church after the investigation comes to an end.
Arsonists once again attacked a church in Déols near Châteauroux. The church was deliberately set on fire in the past already, one recent case dates back to August 8, 2021, in which the altarpiece was destroyed by the fire. In the year 2020, the church has also been subjected to arson, leading the clergy to close the church for reparation works. Police are investigating.
On 12 August, unknown perpetrators desecrated the church of Saint-Pierre-et-Saint-Paul in Hénon with swastikas. The damage was discovered by the sexton, who came to close the church's door. According to the report made, the vandals also damaged the porch of the building. Police have been informed.
During the night of 13 August, unknown perpetrators vandalised the cemetery of Redessan. The cemetery is located on the road to Saint Gervasy. It was reported that a cross was broken, plaques were smashed and flower pots were thrown over. A complaint was filled with the police who are investigating the case.
A priest in Vienna simply locked up an offertory thief in his church. The priest had kept an eye on the suspicious 39-year-old male of Romanian descent, who has allegedly been stealing money from the offertory since July 2021. When he returned on August 10, 2021, the parish priest observed the man's actions through video surveillance and simply locked him up, while he stole again. Without further ado, he informed the police about the thieve. Police are currently investigating the case.
Under the new LGBT inclusivity guidelines, children as young as four will be able to change their names and gender at school, without their parents' consent. A 70-pages document authorized by the Scottish government, dictate teachers to ask pupils for their new names and pronouns instead of questioning their 'decision' to transition to living as the other gender. Campaigners fear for the safeguarding of children and the breach of parental rights to protect their children. Scottish lawyer Aiden O'Neill fears that this move could be very illegal and potentially dangerous.
Armin Laschet, the CDU's candidate for the next federal elections, has been attacked in an anti-Catholic video shown at a political election event in early August. In the video, Laschet is seen as a Russian Matryoshka doll that 'hides' several other dolls inside. A voiceover says "whoever votes for Armin Laschet and the CDU, votes for ultra-Catholic Laschet confidants for whom sex before marriage is taboo". Bishops and politicians fear for a wider erosion of freedom of religion in an increasingly secular Europe.
A thieve stole an 18th-century silver ciborium and consecrated hosts from a church in Houyet. The police have been informed and are now looking for the perpetrator. It is said that the incident took place on 12 August.
In 2004 MP Päivi Räsänen co-authored a church pamphlet about human sexuality for which she is additionally prosecuted on the grounds of ethnic aggravation . The other charges raised against her are based upon a TV interview and a social media post she made. If she is found guilty on all three counts she might be facing a prison sentence of up to six years. During a podcast with Jeff King, she told him that her case raises questions about religious freedom in Finland. "If, for example, any of the viewpoints contained in the Bible would be considered sufficient as such to fulfil the criteria for the crime of ethnic aggravation, then the distribution of the Bible, or rendering it available would in principle be considered a crime of ethnic aggravation and thus punishable", she cited a police report on her case. Talking to King she further stated: "This is also a question, are we allowed to agree with the Bible? Are we allowed to keep Bibles in public and teach what the Bible tells us? I think this is a very, very deep question of freedom of faith and religion."
On the 7th July, the church in Remigny has been attacked again only a couple of days of it re-opening. Unknown perpetrators broke two stained glass windows in the historical church. A complaint has been filed and police are currently searching for the perpetrators.
Police arrested two brothers at the age of ten who are said to have desecrated 18 graves in the communal cemetery of Ham-les-Moines. The incident happened on 31 July, however, the police only managed to arrest them in August. It was reported that the police caught them as they were trying to desecrate another graveyard. They were handed over to their parents, who might have to pay for the damage their children made.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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".
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
In a recent statement published by the megachurch Hillsong, they accuse BBC of defaming and misrepresenting it. They state that Nick Aldridge the show maker of the documentary 'God Goes Viral' misled them from the very start. The show was supposed to cover how Hillsong grew from a family church to a megachurch frequented by celebrities and especially young people all around the globe. On their Website, they published a statement clarifying the misrepresentation and stating their position in relation to the false allegations raised in the documentary.
The Vie et Lumière (Life and Light) evangelical church in Marseille, which is a member of the Evangelical Mission of the Romani of France, was recently vandalised. The church had placed a marquee on their rented space, which has been completely destroyed. A member of the community discovered the burned Bibles, the broken furniture and the broken marquee, which was lacerated with a cutter on the evening of August 4, 2021. That person also informed the police about the vandalism, who are currently investigating.
Police apprehended a 36-year-old man who is the main suspect in a case of vandalism of a church in Baranówek. The man is thought to have painted offensive inscriptions on the wall of Christ the King Church in Baranówek. The incident dates back to early July. Police could point two other offences to the man who is now facing a prison charge of up to five years.
Swedish police confirmed the fire in the Ansgarii church was caused by arson. In course of theirs investigations, the police found petrol cans, which were used to start the fire. This is not the first church burned down in the local area. Residents and the local community are now urging the Swedish Government to better protect places of worship. The police are still looking for the perpetrator.
On 3rd July 2021, the Notre-Dame Basilica in Nice witnessed a robbery attempt by a homeless man. He intended to steal a fifty kilo trunk and threatened the faithful as well as the priest with death. He shouted: "I'll come back and kill you all". In October 2020, the church has witnessed Islamic attack. A Tunisian migrant threated to slit the throats of three people in the church. He was sentenced to 17 months in prison for the attempted robbery and the threats.
Less than a week after the Saint Mary Magdalene's Church in Caldecote suffered a thousand pound's worth of damage, it had been vandalised again. The Church, which had recently re-opened after several months of renovation had first been vandalised on 29 July, the second attack followed a couple of days later. Volunteers found several windows were broken and a door seemed to have been forced open. Police are investigating.
A 50-year-old woman is currently held as the main suspect in the case of desecration and vandalism of a Virgin Mary Statue in Poland. The woman is accused of having stolen a gold-plated crown from a statue in a church in Kościerzyna, Wielu, worth PLN 1,000 (€219). She was charged with theft and is now facing a prison sentence of up to five years. The incident happened on July 8, 2021. The 50-year-old pleaded guilty to the charges raised against her.
Unknown perpetrator set the sanctuary of Our Lady of Fatima in Marsala on fire. The incident happened on 4 August, at around 5.30 p.m. Although the fire brigade prevented much damage, the church suffered partial damage to its altar, the gospel book and other furnishings. The police were informed and are now looking for the perpetrator, who was seen fleeing the scene.
Police arrested three suspects in a case of church theft. The three individuals are accused of breaking into the presbytery of the church of Ligueuil in Touraine on the 27 July. They are said to have searched the premises and escaped with €3.870 in cash. Parish priest Father Rémy Soubrier explained this is the third robbery of this kind.
Joshua Sutcliffe, a maths teacher and a Christian pastor, was dismissed from his school in Oxford because he allegedly 'misgendered' a student. He is said to have said "well-done girls" to a group that included a student who identifies as a boy. In a legal challenge, Mr Sutcliffe claims the school has "systematically and maliciously" breached his rights which subsequently forced him to leave his job, for it had become impossible to continue the working relationship. The secondary school he worked in has not commented on the case.
Police managed to apprehend a suspect in the case of arson at the Saint Andrew the Apostle Church. The individual identified is the same person who tried the set the church on fire in the previous year. According to parish priest Don Giuseppe the suspect has been committing acts of vandalism towards the church for some time now. Saint Andrew's community is collecting funds for the restoration of the church door.
David Byle has lived in Turkey for 19 years and together with his wife Ulrike raised their five children there. The Christian minister has now been barred from re-entering the country because of his Christian faith. Supported by a legal team he is now taking the issue to the European Court of Human Rights. According to the Turkish government, Byle is a ‘threat to public order and security’ and has therefore been banned from the Country. The family is now residing in Germany until they are all permitted to return home.
The Irish Government instructed the local parishes to hold communion and confirmation services this month. This newly imposed restriction came as a blow, as the churches were allowed to resume services only in May after a very long period of COVID-19 related restrictions. While five Bishops have now decided to defy the newly imposed restrictions, holding communion and confirmation services anyway, the reformist Association of Catholic Priests in Ireland has criticised the Bishops action.
An unknown perpetrator burned down the Ansgarii Church in Vättersnäs, Jönköping. The incident happened on 3 August, at around 2 a.m. when residents called the fire brigade. The Ansgarii Church belongs to the Swedish Ecumenical Uniting Church. There were no injuries reported. Police are investigating and treating the incident as a case of arson.
The wooden door of the church of Saint Andrew the Apostle in Capodrise has been set on fire by an unknown perpetrator. The incident happened on the evening of 2 August. Thanks to the quick intervention of the local fire brigade the fire was brought under control and quickly put out. Police are investigating the scene and are looking for the perpetrator.
15 graves were desecrated on the cemetery of Stains. The incident occurred on the night of 31 July to 1 August. The perpetrator(s) knocked over flowers, broke plaques, smashed vaults and broke open tombstones. A complaint was filed with the local police. In the past, the cemetery had been vandalised numerous times, but never to this extend says mayor Azzedine Taïbi.
After attacking a priest with a glass bottle in the Saint Mary's Catholic Cathedral in Edinburg, the main suspect appeared in court. The male is accused of assaulting a priest who was praying in the Cathedral at the time of the incident. 31-year-old Jason Irvine has been treated as the main suspect in the case. He has been charged with two counts of assault and is held in custody while expecting a court hearing.
A statue of the Virgin Mary has been desecrated in the church in Kościerzyna. Police managed to detain a 50-year-old female suspect, who is said to have entered the church and tore off the gold-plated crown from the statue of the Virgin Mary. As the main suspect, the woman is being charged with theft and is consequently facing a maximum of five years in prison. 200 Meters from the location of the theft, police found the crown. It was reported that the suspect confessed to the crime.
Police arrested a 45-year-old man who is said to have stolen from the Roman Catholic Church in Zagórów. The incident dates back to the end of July when it was reported that dozen gold-plated vessels, used for the daily celebration of the Mass, have been stolen. During a search of the suspect's flat, police recovered the stolen chalices, patens and ciboria. The suspect is already known to the police and is now facing a sentence of up to 10 years in prison. Until the end of his process, the man was put under police supervision.
Scottish police managed to apprehend a 31-year-old man in Cumbria. It is assumed that Jason Irvine is connected to assaulting a priest on July 26, while the same was praying at the Saint Mary's Catholic Cathedral in York Place. Police charged the man with two assaults, they could connect him to. He is now expected to appear at Edinburgh Sheriff Court.
Former Robertson Trust Fund CEO Kenneth Ferguson was fired because he held traditional Christian views on marriage. In a legal challenge, the Employment Tribunal found that Ferguson was a victim of religious discrimination and unfair dismissal. The consequences of the ruling are not yet revealed. A further hearing is expected to take place in order to determine the amount of compensation the Robertson Trust has to pay Mr Ferguson.
The Karls Church in Vienna has been repeatedly attacked and spray painted by vandals. Figures of the crime statistics show that this is by no means an isolated case since the number of offences of damage to property has increased by 46.7 per cent alone in the last year. After the latest attacks on places of worship, the Vienna People's Party (ÖVP) is requesting security measures to keep places of worship safe.
10 days after the Saint Mary Magdalene Church in Caldecote reopened it fell victim to vandalism. Windows were smashed, a powder fire extinguisher was emptied inside the church and the decorations were torn off and bleach was thrown over the floor and altar. The incident is said to have happened between 4:30 and 5:30 p.m. on 29 of July. Police have been informed and are currently investigating the case.
During the night of 29 July to 30 July vandals are said to have caused great damage to the memorial at the Chapelle des Buis. The memorial houses a statue of the Virgin Mary and a crypt, which was built in 1949 in remembrance of 5,500 victims the town lost to the Second World War. Brother Nicholas from the Diocesan Association, who is the owner of the memorial, discovered the destruction and reported it to the local authorities. Acts of vandalism have increased lately, as especially young people come during nighttime to the monument to party and take drugs, stated the local residents. A plan to protect the monument is underway.
Glasgow's St Simon's church fell victim to a devastating fire. Emergency services were called to the location in the morning hours of 28 July. Saint Simon's Catholic Church was the 'spiritual home' of the cities' polish community. Additionally, residents were evacuated or told to keep windows and doors shut. One person had to be rescued from the flames and was given treatment at the scene. Police were informed and are currently investigating the cause of the fire.
Hatun Tash, the converted Chrisitan evangelist who was stabbed with a knife during a debate by a Muslim man, spoke out on the attack. Speaking to local newspapers the former Muslim called on the state to enforce better safeguard measures to prevent future attacks. Her attacker unleashed a series of violent stabs at her throat and upper body leaving her with wounds to her face and hands. She called the attack a result of "police inaction" since the aggresor "was not afraid to do this right in front of them."
Treasuries placed on the pillars in the garrison church in Gniezno were stolen by unknown perpetrators. During the incident, the facade of the historic church was damaged, money is said to have been stolen as well. The incident is thought to have taken place around noon, on 28 July. "Fara Gniezno" the parish's Facebook profile shared the incident stating they had "No words" to the occurrence. The police are investigating the case.
Police charged a 24-year-old man with "wilful fire-raising" for setting Saint Simon's Catholic Church on fire. The incident took place on July 28 and damaged the Archdiocese of Glasgow severely. As a result of the fire the churches roof, interior and upper walls were completely destroyed. The church was the 'spiritual home' to the Polish community in Glasgow. Further information was not released by the police.
Police are looking for a man who attacked a priest with a broken glass bottle inside Saint Mary's Cathedral in Edinburgh. The unnamed clergyman was praying alone inside the church when he was approached by a male individual who asked if he was a priest. Upon his "yes" he was attacked with a glass bottle. The occurrence happened at around 9.30 a.m. on the morning of 27 July. Police are investigating.
Italian police arrested a 40-year-old suspect in the case of theft of a missal in a church in Ravenna. The stolen missal was placed on the altar of the church of San Rocco, where a man of Moroccan descent was seen taking it. The theft had been reported to the authorities a couple of days prior to the arrest. Police are still searching for the stolen book. The suspect is being charged among other things with offending a religious denomination.
Unknown perpetrators damaged various graves in the cemetery in Beffe in the city of Rendeux. It has been reported that vandals knocked over flowers and broke grave markers. The incident dates back to 27 July. A complaint was filed with the police who are currently looking to identify the culprit(s).
39-year-old Christian activist Hatun Tash has been stabbed several times while speaking at the "Speaker's Corner" in London's Hyde Park. The incident happened on the afternoon of 25 July, during a gathering. She suffered light injuries to her head but was taken to the hospital for care. Police are looking for the culprit who left the knife at the scene before escaping.
Pastor Andreas Schlechtweg and his wife Susanne Wittmann-Schlechtweg are facing charges for granting asylum through the church in Bamberg. The pair had granted asylum to a young Irani woman in 2020, who was supposed to be deported to Croatia according to the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees. On 26 August, they have to respond to the charges raised against them. If found guilty they might be incarcerated.
Unknown perpetrators set fire to a plastic folder containing sheets of songs and prayers inside a church in Loctudy, Finistère. The incident occurred on 25 July. Further damage was prevented, thanks to the quick intervention of a visitor. According to the parish, no complaint has been filed yet. The first deputy mayor of Loctudy, Sylvain Cosnard, ensured that measures would be taken to protect the church from further attacks.
A group of Catholic demonstrators has been attacked by people wearing black clothing. The incident happened on 24 July, during an anti-sanitary pass demonstration. Fifteen demonstrators gathered around a Civitas banner, a catholic political movement, to demonstrate against the implementation of the sanitary pass in France. While demonstrating a group of individuals dressed in black, with hidden faces started to attack the demonstrators. It is unclear whether or not the police has been informed.
A court in London ruled in favour of 31-year-old pastor Joshua Sutcliffe. The street preacher was preaching in Camden, North London on Good Friday in April 2020, as he was approached by four police officers, who claimed he is breaching government COVID restrictions and subsequently fined him. "We find the defendant not guilty on all charges. We find that the defendant was outside and that he had a reasonable excuse as he was travelling to his place of work, as a worship leader", ruled the Magistrates Court in London.
Ryan Schiavo was arrested in London for preaching on the streets that "homosexuality is a sin" or that "churches that have rainbow flags on them are not real churches". A woman who heard him called the police and some minutes later he was arrested. The incident was recorded by a friend of the street preacher.
An unknown perpetrator is currently being searched for by polish police. The perpetrator is accused of having desecrated a statue of the Virgin Mary and the destruction of a roadside shrine in Kraplewo near Ostróda. Build in the 1950s the shrine has a cultural and historic meaning for the locals. If identified, the perpetrator is facing up to two years in prison for insulting an object of a religious group or a place intended for the public performance of religious rites.
European bishops are urging the European Union to ensure religious freedom is protected in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. In a statement released by the Commission of Bishops Conference of the European Union, it can be read that “vulnerable religious communities are experiencing discrimination, intolerance and, in some cases, persecution as victims of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.” The statement followed a meeting of church representatives held on July 15.
Police arrested two suspects in the case of damaging the church of Saint Jean Baptiste in Mauléon Licharre in the Atlantic Pyrenees. The incident dates back to 7 July. The suspects are accused of having tried to set fire to the church, by lighting songbooks and throwing them into the church. It is thought that in the course of this action, a statue of the Virgin Mary was damaged. Police are investigating
In the course of 72 hours, french authorities were called two times because of a suspected arson inside a church in Pont-de-Vaux. Thanks to the quick interference of the authorities the fires were extinguished without causing much damage. It is suspected that both fires have been deliberately set by currently unknown perpetrators. The church is under surveillance and the police are investigating.
Unknown perpetrators have desecrated a cross at the church of Vaguines. The incident is thought to have taken place sometime overnight from 18 to 19 July. The perpetrators have spray painted the cross in pink and wrote "Jesus son 2 rape" onto the church wall. Police are investigating since the case has been reported by the town's authorities.
After a court ruling, council owned Blackpool Transport has now agreed to pay £109,000 in damages caused to the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association for banning adverts for an event organised by the same. The public transportation company banned the advertisements after evangelist Franklin Graham, who was an invited guest speaker at the Festival of Hope event, commented upon Islam and homosexuality. Additionally, the transport company offered a public apology and have now implemented clear policies regarding adverts. Franklin Graham is "grateful to God" for this outcome.
45-year-old Christian, Kristie Higgs, was fired from her job in 2020 for posting concerns about LGBT+ ideology being implemented in her son's school. The anonymous complaint leading to her being fired stated her post was "homophobic and prejudiced". Mrs Higgs posted the post on her private Facebook page only visible to her family and friends. In an Employment Appeal Tribunal, His Honour Judge (HHJ) Taylor ruled in favour of Mrs Higgs stating: “This appeal potentially raises important issues on the approach to be adopted by the Tribunals to manifestation and expression of beliefs”. Higgs will now appeal her case, which will be heard later this year.
The EU's European Court of Justice ruled that employers are allowed to ban visible religious symbols from their businesses, i.e. they are allowed to forbid their employees to wear crosses and headscarves. In its ruling, the Luxembourg-based tribunal stated its member states should weigh up if the ban corresponded to a "genuine need" on the part of the employer, especially since it potentially interferes with the employees' rights to freedom of religion. The case came to court after two Islamic-identifying women in Germany filed legal complaints against their workplaces for interfering with their beliefs. Subsequently, the case was brought in front of the European Court of Justice ruling on the legitimacy of the national legislation.
“Unacceptable, illegal, and unjust”, that is how a body representing Spain's medical colleges referred to the threat to conscientious objection on abortion made by the states government minister's. In the sight of the adoption of the Matic report, Spain's Equality Minister Irene Montero declared that “the right of physicians to conscientious objection cannot be above women’s right to decide”. Montero requested the General Council of Official Medical Colleges (GCGOM) to respond to her proposed changes. GCGOM, is the governing body representing 52 local medical colleges, on 12 July, they published a statement defending the right to conscientious objection.
Unknown perpetrators tried to set fire to the Romanesque church of Santissimi Pietro e Paolo in Bollengo. Mayor Luigi Ricca noted that the police "found traces of flammable liquid in the churchyard. The same group then broke one of the road signs indicating the route of the Via Francigena in the area". Since the modus operandi is similar to the case of church vandalism at the San Silvestro church in Chiaverano from June 2021, the police are suspecting the same group to be responsible. However, Mayor Ricca does not think that it is the same group. Investigations are ongoing.
Currently unknown perpetrators desecrated a church in Grüfflingen. The incident happened sometime between 13 to 14 July. It had been reported that the culprits desecrated the church walls and the labelling close to the church. The police are investigating.
During the night of 5 to 6 July, currently unknown perpetrators decapitated the statue of the Virgin Mary in Bayeux. The statue is located near the Augustines chapel in Bayeux and had already fallen victim to other acts of vandalism. In 2013 a young man decapitated the statue, while in 2017, the head of the statue was covered in black paint. Although the police managed to recover the head of the statue nearby, the search for the culprit continues.
Unknown perpetrators stole a relic from the church in Blaye. The perpetrators stole a fragment of a rib belonging to Saint Romain, a Gallo-Roman priest who lived in the 4th century, making the rib 1,800 years old. Additionally to the rib, a silver case, containing the rib, has also been taken. The parish and the association for the protection of the church have filed a complaint with the local authorities. They are currently investigating the case.
The Surp Takavor Armenian Church in Istanbul has been desecrated. A 14-second video appeared on social media showing three men dancing next to a stone cross atop the church's courtyard gate. It is thought to have happened on 10 July, as the video was released on the evening of 11 July. Turkish authorities detained the three suspects on 12 July, while they were in their homes. An investigation is underway.
A 64- year old woman is the main suspect in the case of vandalism and theft from the Saint Adalbert's Church in Białystok. On CCTV footage the woman is seen tearing off a statue of Jesus Christ from the church wall and throwing it into a waste bin. The incident happened on 12 June right before the morning mass at 6.30 a.m. Parish priest father Jan Wierzbicki noticed the theft after a trace of glue remained on the plastered wall, where statue once hung. The police managed to recover the torn off statue and als caught the culprit. a 64-year old woman. She is now being charged with insulting religious feelings. The reasons for the act of vandalism are still unknown.
Unknown perpetrators are said to have started a fire on 11 June, at the parish church of Saint-Marie de Déols. The incident must have happened sometime between 3 and 4 p.m. when the church was open to the public. The fire was discovered by visitors to the church, who immediately informed the police and the fire brigade. Little damage was caused thanks to their quick intervention. A special team of investigators are on the case.
Unknown perpetrators entered the church in Henstedt-Ulzburg in Segeberg. The incident happened sometime between Sunday (11 July) afternoon and Monday (12 July) morning. Once inside the church, they broke several doors and took every money they could find. The perpetrators caused an estimated damage of 2500 Euros, excluding the stolen money. Police reconstructed the incident, leading them to believe the culprits gained access through a terrace door. The public is asked to forward any information to the local police station in Norderstedt.
The Saint-Etienne church in Déols, near Châteauroux, was deliberately set on fire. The incident happened on 11 July. It is currently unclear how many people were involved in the arson. The local town hall investigated and uncovered eight intentional fires set to the church and decided to close the church for one week. Orléans judicial police were entrusted with the case.
Twitter allowed politician James Dornan to personally attack his Christian colleague MP Jacob Rees-Mogg. After high profile conservative Mr Rees-Mogg tweeted a video about the upcoming Nationality and Borders Bill, Mr Dornan responded stating: "Hope you remember this the next time you go to confession. You and your cronies are already responsible for the deaths of thousands and you're now happy to see the most desperate people in the world suffer and drown. If your god exists you will undoubtedly rot in hell." Consequently, the post was reported to the Standards Commission for Scotland. The conservative party is now asking for an apology.
Unknown perpetrators are said to have attempted to break into the Saint-Vaast church in Moreuil. The incident dates back to 9 July, on which vandals left their mark on different parts of the French commune. A parishioner noticed the broken door and broken windows the following morning. The police had been informed, and a complaint was filed.
On 9 July unknown perpetrator(s) vandalised the sacristy of the Saint-Vaast church in Moreuil. The incident must have happened after 7 p.m. A parishioner noticed the damage done to the sacristy the following morning. It has been reported that the perpetrator broke the door to the sacristy courtyard and a window to the sacristy. The incident was reported to the police, who are investigating the case.
14 years after a Christian employee of the French Public Transport company RATP was dismissed for refusing to use the word "I swear" during an oath-taking procedure, a French High Court ruled in the employee's favour. In 2007, the trainee employee had to take an oath, to be allowed to start her new position, in which she had to say "I swear". She refused to use those words since her religious beliefs contradict them. In high court on 7 July 2021, the court ruled that "it is possible to replace the phrase 'I swear' with a solemn undertaking".
Spains Minister of Equality, Irene Moreno, announced on 8 July that the Spanish government is considering to fully decriminalize abortion and to end medical professional's right to conscientious objection. Morenos announcement came shortly after the European Union adopted the Matic Report, which labels abortion as a fundamental human right. Spain's medical body as well as the President of the Bioethics Committee slammed that idea and called it "unconstitutional", as the right to conscientious objection is "an individual right" to health professionals. Moreno wants to adopt the changes in the last quarter of 2021.
The archcathedral basilica in Łódź was vandalised by an unknown perpetrator, who destroyed the buildings valuable historical door with white paint and the square in front of the church with red hands. CCTV footage reveals the incident happened at around 3 a.m. on 7 July. The police have been informed and are currently looking for one individual, stated police spokeswoman Joanna Kącka.
Catholic groups all over Europe joined together on defending religious freedom. In a joint statement, 14 organisations criticised the adoption of the Matic Report by the European Parliament. The Report formally labelled "Report on the situation of sexual and reproductive health and rights in the EU, in the frame of women’s health", just made abortion a "human right", declared conscientious objection as a "denial of medical care" and undermines Parent's Rights. The Holy See and Bishops all over Europe are deeply saddened by this outcome.
Initially, the singing ban in churches throughout England was expected to be lifted in June. Especially because choirs, professional singers and singing in bars and pubs have at that point been allowed to take place. Then on June 15, the English government extended the restrictions for churches only, which are set to come to an end on 19 July. Secretary of health Mr Sajid Javid announced that all restrictions would be eased off stating: "There will be no limits on the number of people who can attend life events like weddings and funerals and there will be no restrictions on communal worship or singing." Prime Minister (PM) Boris Johnson also stated that the usage of masks would become voluntary.
Unknown perpetrators damaged several graves at the cemetery in Comblanchien, France. It is unclear when the act occurred. However, it was reported to the police on 24 June. The culprits have broken some headstones and have torn off, removed or moved flowers and plants. Mayor Didier Toubin has discovered the desecration. A complaint has been lodged. Police are investigating.
Following the case of Rev Dr Bernard Randall vs. Trent College, Tory MPs are now seeking to add schools to a programme, which would penalize schools for favouring 'woke over free speech'. In the eye of the 'woke' and 'cancel culture' movements, the government is set to protect free speech and open debate in academia. PM Boris Johnson declared the government's commitment to protect free speech and open debate in academia in May, during the Queen's Speech programme. Similar cases to the one of Rev Dr Randall are supposed to be included in the debate. A vote on the sanctions is expected later this month.
Turkey's Minister for Culture and Tourism has been harshly confronted in parliament by Garo Paylan, an Armenian member of the opposition. The confrontation follows the latest instance of targeted desecration of Christian sites in the Country and Turkey's silence and apparent indifference regarding the repeated desecration of those sites and the erasure of Christian culture. The 18th-century Sup Toros Armenian Church in Kayseri had been heavily damaged in January 2021. Paylan criticised the governments' failure of an action to protect historical and cultural-religious sites officially recognized as such by UNESCO, such as the Hagia Sofia and other churches throughout the Country. He additionally criticised the conversion of Churches to mere venues for tourism, Museums, Hotels and Galleries. An official statement is expected.