The Vatican is being accused of having intervened in the lawmaking process of an anti-discrimination law, also known as 'Zan Bill', because of a written note they directed to the Italian ambassador of the Holy See, in which they point out their concern about the bill. In the formal diplomatic note, the Holy See raises the concern upon the bill passing the senate as drafted since it would not only violate the freedoms of the Catholic Church in Italy, as regulated in an agreement of 1929, but it would also force Catholic schools to implement and organise activities on a future national day against homophobia and transphobia. Critics, amongst which are some prominent homosexuals and feminist groups as well as the Catholic Church, point out that the problem is not whether we agree or disagree with those statements it is more about the law interfering and thus preventing religious believers from freely and publicly expressing themselves. The "Zan Bill" has been approved by the lower house in November of 2020 but has yet to pass the Senate committee.
An arsonist destroyed the Estonian Christian Orthodox Church in Narva-Jõesuu on June 17. The fire damaged the walls and completely destroyed the church's interior. In the course of the fire, the roof collapsed partially. Police have been informed, they suspect arson since the church had been set on fire in February 2020 already, causing damage to the 18th-century icons, its altar and the oak iconostasis. Estonias Firebrigade also suspects arson, since the fire spread so rapidly. The culprit has yet to be identified.
Former LGBT Government advisor Jayne Ozanne called for "gentle non-coercive prayer" to be included in the planned conversion therapy ban. Ozanne forwarded the inclusion after Right Rev David Walker, the Bishop of Manchester, mentioned that prayer "where there is a level of power imbalance, and a level of force" should be included in the ban. A Human Rights lawyer affirmed that banning "gentle non-coercive prayer" would violate Convention rights. The bill will be discussed in September, following possible legislation next year.
The perpetrator who defaced the facade of the historic Saint Nicholas Church in Lubliniec in early January, was caught. 23-year-old Adam G. does neither admit to having committed the crime nor does he provide a logical explanation for how the bottle with black liquid turned out to be his. In the course of the interrogation, the suspect confessed other crimes, for which he will be charged. The District Prosecutor's Office in Częstochowa is charging Adam G. under Polish penal code Article 108 which consists of damaging a historical monument, which is punishable with a prison sentence of up to eight years. He is additionally being charged for insulting religious feelings, which could add another two years of imprisonment.
As for Covid restrictions, the UK government announced a four-week extension to England's lockdown regulations. Although the new extension allows churches to stay open, it restricts worship and singing until 19 July. Right Reverend Dame Sarah Mullaly, the Bishop of London, is now pressing the Parliament to reconsider the decision. Retired Rev Nick Baines, Bishop of Leeds, confronting the House of Lords sees inconsistencies being prolonged instead of actual Covid measures, since singing inside of Pubs is allowed.
Vienna police arrested the main suspect, who is alleged to have robbed and tortured six monks in Vienna-Strebersdorf. The man bound and gagged all his victims and brutally beat them with an iron rod. Five of the victims were seriously injured, while one fought for his life for several months. The suspect, a man of Serbian descent but with a Croatian citizenship, was caught and arrested in Zagreb after a two-year investigation. The suspect admitted that he committed the crime, as a motive he said he hated the church and wanted to avenge the ones hurt by them. He is facing a prison sentence of up to 15 years.
Spains highest court, National Audience, withdrew a 6,000 Euros fine that was earlier imposed on the Christian television channel Revelation TV. The cable broadcaster received the fine in September of 2017, after a complaint had been made claiming the programme is "attacking the dignity of LGBT people." High Court Judge Felisa Atienza Rodríguez stated in her ruling that "critiquing ideas or positions" of others is a constitutional right.
Unknown perpetrators are said to have devastated the interior in the chapel of Our Lady of Deliverance in Moselle on 14 June. It has been reported that a crucifix and statues were toppled over and thrown to the ground as well as flowers and chairs. A resident observed that a van parked in front of the chapel for 15 minutes. A complaint has been lodged and the chapel cleaned.
During a church service in France, two young people aged 21 are said to have fired several shots. It has been reported that the two perpetrators used a double-barrelled 16-gauge shotgun and a machete. The incident happened 13 June around 8.30 a.m. during a quarrel with evangelical worshippers. Police apprehended the two men who fled the scene and sought refuge in a nearby grocery store. The exact circumstances of the shootings are yet to be determined. No casualty has been reported, police are investigating.
Maya Forstater, a tax consultant, tweeted that biology determines whether one is male or female. As result, she lost her job. An employment tribunal ruled the former tax consultant had not been treated unlawfully as 'gender critical' beliefs were not protected by law. Lawyer Mr Justice Chodhury took the case to court pointing at the Equality Act 2010. In a second Tribunal hearing, the judge ruled that Forstater's view is indeed protected by law.
Unknown perpetrators have stolen relics from the Saint Joseph's parish in Krakow. The incident happened between 10 and 11 June. The parish reported the incident and shared it on their social media, stating "the relics of St. Brother Albert were stolen from our Sanctuary! They were located in the altar of the Apostles of Mercy. Please share this news". The priests are asking the public for any information.
A group of teenage boys is alleged to have been repeatedly attacking the parish priest's house, which also functions as the churche's rectory, next to the parish church of Santa Marta. Although the boys have been identified the local mayor refuses to report them. The group of boys keeps vandalising the parish and the parish priests house by throwing rubbish and cans onto the house and removing plasters from the church. The Mayor is planning on setting up signs forbidding the young boys to climb onto public property and vandalism.
A new legislation has been presented to Spain's lower house. The new law would create "buffer zones" around abortion facilities. Proposed on 21 May by the ruling Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE) to the Congress of Deputies, the law aims to penalize anyone who “harasses or restricts the freedom of a woman who intends to exercise her right to abortion". The buffer zones would prevent any kind of pro-life campaigning or support in the area. The bill is to be voted upon.
The city of Edinburgh Council has apologized after violating church rights and paid £25,000 in damages caused by their action. They cancelled a Christian three-day conference after a complaint regarding the religious beliefs held guest speaker Larry Stockstill. A court ruled, that they violated the European Convention on Human Rights, the Human Rights Act 1998 and the Equality Act 2010. The council acknowledged that it "failed to meet its equalities duties to Destiny Ministries in terms of the Equality Act 2010 and therefore acted unlawfully."
Polands Government wants to protect Christian values at their Universities. Przemyslaw Czarnek the Minister of Education and Science wants to stop hostilities towards Christians at Universities, especially since the fear of "disciplinary measures because of alleged discrimination against non-Christians" is spreading amongst the Christian Community. The Polish Government wants to guarantee that freedom of speech, teaching and scientific research are maintained. The so-called academic freedom package is to be discussed this week.
In 2018 a state-owned bus company removed advertisements from the pro-life NGO Zavod ŽIV!M on the grounds of them being "intolerant". Although the NGO signed a contract with the company allowing them to display their ads for several months, the company took them down just after a little more than a week. On the ads the messages "We love Life!", "You are not alone", "Step out of Silence" and "I mourn my child", were accompanied by pictures of a happy family, a grieving mother and a woman holding a pregnancy test. In a first ruling the Slovenian equality body called "Advocate of the Principle of Equality" found the company to have acted discriminately towards the NGO. The company challenged the ruling, an outcome is expected in June.
The roman catholic church of Tasque in the Gers has been ransacked at the end of May after its recent reopening. The church finished restoration works a few days earlier. Tourists visiting the church noticed the damage in early June. Unknown perpetrators have desecrated the altar through inscriptions, they also damaged the chandeliers, as well as furniture and several statues. Locals informed the authorities, it is thought that the local "youths" is to blame for this.
The Church of Santa María de Tafalla in Spain has fallen victim to an act of vandalism. Unknown perpetrators have knocked down the fences attached to the parish and thrown a sack of cement over the door of the church. The attack is thought to have taken place sometime between Saturday afternoon and Sunday Morning. Alfredo Ondarra, head of the Tafalla Municipal Police, said that his team is looking for the culprit.
A cemetery in France has been repeatedly vandalised. Unknown perpetrators are said to have stolen different objects and flowers from the graves in Laneuveville-devant-Nancy. The thefts started to occur in May and have since become regular. A complaint has already been filed. The police are investigating.
Between 6 and 9 June, three different cemeteries were ruthlessly vandalized. A total of 18 cast iron crosses were stolen, and their foot broken. The police found a connection to the theft of eight additional crosses from the cemeteries in Sartilly and Saint Jean le Thomas on the 11th and the 17th of June. After a thorough investigation, the police managed to apprehend a suspect. During a search of his home, six of the stolen crosses were found and recovered.
“The parishioners are deeply disturbed by what happened”. Vandals graffitied a "deeply disturbing" message onto a church in Cork, Ireland. The currently unknown perpetrator was caught on camera while desecrating the Church of the Ascension around one o'clock in the morning. On the CCTV the culprit can be seen entering the premises of the church, vandalising it and also damaging the cars belonging to the priests and their houses. “The community were just coming alight again after the lockdown," Father Walsh stated. He additionally added that the parishioners although shocked are coming together to try and help undo the damage. The police have been informed and are currently investigating.
56-year-old Christian volunteer Jan Niedojadlo was fined £60 by Police officers in April 2020 for preaching the gospel and helping homeless people to get food during the Covid 19 lockdown. Despite proving that he was allowed to perform the volunteer service, a police officer gave 'him a ticket' on the ground of him 'being away from home without a valid reason under Covid regulations'. Mr Niedojadlo's case came to court after a group of MPs on the Joint Committee on Human Rights called for all covid fines issued during the pandemic - a total of 85,000 - to be reviewed. The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has now ruled in favour of Mr Niedojadlo.
The side door of the Mother Church "San Lorenzo Martire" in Sogliano Cavour has been set on fire. It is currently unknown how many individuals were involved in the occurrence. The fire was noticed by a resident at around 5.40 a.m. who also alarmed the fire brigade and the local police. The Insurance has already covered the damage caused by the fire. The Police are now investigating. The parish priest is pressing charges.
Unknown perpetrators broke into the church of San Luigi Gonzaga and stole 15.000 Euros and a collection of Swarovski crystals. The theft took place in the afternoon of 3 June. The church is located in Guidonia Montecelio in Italy. The parish priest discovered the theft and reported it to the local police. It was discovered that the thieves broke into the rectory of the church located in the priests' flat. The investigators found a block of cement on the spot, which was used to break a French window to get access to the premises. The value of the stolen crystals has not yet been revealed. Charges have been filed by the priest.
Experienced medical consultant Dr Dermot Kearney has now been blocked from providing medical assistance in an abortion reversal treatment while an investigation takes place. Dr Kearney offered his emergency abortion rescue service to numerous woman during the pandemic, who regretted taking the first of the Mifepristone pills. By prescribing the natural hormone progesterone which inhabits the effects of Mifepristone, he helped several women to carry healthy babies. The former President of the Catholic Medical Association in the UK is forced to stop offering the treatment for up to 18 months. Dr Kearney, who is a cardiologist and emergency physician has been told to stop offering the treatment by the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (MPTS). They urged him to stop after the General Medical Council received a complaint about the treatment, which is not approved by health officials. The investigation against him is ongoing.
Unknown perpetrators have vandalized the evangelical Church in Albig. The incident happened during the night from 1 to 2 June. The perpetrators have broken the churches' door lock and some trees. Community members and the parish priest can not understand how someone could do this. The police are investigating.
The old church in Tasque has been severely vandalised. The historical Church dates back to the 13th century and was attacked during the Ascension Weekend. The perpetrators broke the chandelier, several sculptures and vases. Police are investigating the case.
The European Parliament, the EU's law-making body, is to vote on a new report that seeks to manifest abortion as a human right and degrades conscientious objection as "denial of medical care". The report forwarded by Croatian politician Matić is to be voted on at the next plenary session due to take place from 7 to 10 June in Strasbourg. Pro-Life groups see a violation of the established principle of abortion lying in the competence of the member states and not the EU. The European Centre for Law and Justice fear that this could lead member states to put the new report into national legal practice.
The All Saints Church in Kenton, Devon, could have its chimes silenced. The reason is a complaint from a member of the public. Build in the 14th century the Church's clock currently chimes every quarter of an hour. One new resident in the area has now complained to silence the same. All Saints Church vicar Rev John Williams admitted to 'The Telegraph' that he is aware that the noise measured by Environmental Health is higher than the current permitted. He added: "While some residents don't mind hearing the clock at night and find it comforting, we are nonetheless required to oblige with the law". The church council is now looking for sponsors to buy a £2,000 mechanism to silence the clock chimes at night. Kenton parish council is now worried that by the time they managed to raise the money the local council could have already silenced the clock.
LGBT+ activists are pushing for a nationwide ban of conversion therapies, which would criminalize prayer, preaching, pastoral support and even parenting which opposes the LGBT+ assumptions. Human rights lawyer Jason Coppel urges that this action "would criminalise the legitimate expression of religious beliefs". The Christian Institute "will not hesitate" to take legal action if Northern Ireland's executives introduce "a badly drafted CT ban" which criminalizes "ordinary everyday practices of the church".
Unknown perpetrators defaced an over 300-year-old church in Leverkusen in Germany. The culprits are responsible for graffiti sprayed on the chapel's walls, signs scratched into the bricks, holes drilled into the copper downpipes and traces of fire found on the massive oak door at the chapel's side entrance. Additionally, the vandals have damaged a monument at the Anna Chapel. Karl Georg Emmels, former church council estimates the damage to be several thousand Euros. A reward of 500 Euros for information leading to the culprit has been offered and the police are investigating.
The little church of Santa Chiara in Nicotera has been vandalized by unknown persons. A hole was found in the wall of the sacristy although the intentions behind these attempts are unclear. As the neighbors explained, "there is nothing to steal here, nothing of particular value". The incident actually took place at the beginning of the summer but it was discovered much later given that the church remains closed most part of the year. The police are carrying on an investigation to track down the perpetrators.
On 30 May, a public Catholic procession in Paris, commemorating the city’s 19th-century martyrs, was violently attacked by several radical left groups. From the beginning on the procession was accompanied by interruptive whistling and booing. Soon the verbal attacks became physically violent. Flags were torn down and even heavy object thrown at them. The perpetrators also started to kick and punch participants of the procession, one elderly man was knocked to the ground suffering serious head injuries that needed to be stitched. The procession was then blocked by around 50 demonstrators and the police asked the believers to take refuge in a near by church until the situation was under control again. The police are investigating.
More than 20 graves have been ransacked in the communal cemetery of La Ronbe during the night of 7th and 8th May. The plaques and flowers were destroyed. The police opened an investigation
Vandals have violated the Way of the Cross leading to the Cemetery in Pizzoletta, near Verona. Although the stolen plates are neither valuable nor ancient, they carry religious and ideational value for the community. The act of vandalism and theft happened just a few days after the Way of the Cross has been restored. During the pandemic, the Way of the Cross, which encompasses fourteen stations, had suffered various attacks. It is unclear if the case has been reported to the police.
In the end of April, the church of Aytré, in Charente-Maritime near La Rochelle has been a victim of an attempted arson. Unknown perpetrators have burnt doilies as well as a box of matches. The motives remain unknown and a complain has been filled to the police
Hatun Tash a Christian and a regular speaker at the Speakers' Corner, has been arrested after questioning the Islamic faith. Police officers who were asked to come in to protect the speaker, decided to arrest Hatun after a mob of Muslims started threatening her. A video released on YouTube shows Mohammad Hijab, the leader of the antagonistic group who threatened Hatun, spreading hate speech against world politicians and Israel, threatening police officers and threatening to kill Jews and Christians. It is unclear why the Police arrested Hatun instead of Hijab.
Sometime between 27 and 28, May thieves have entered the church of San Michele Degli Scalzi in Italy. They broke into the tabernacle and have taken the sacred hosts. Don Lorenzo, the parish priest, noticed that the closing flap was slightly out of place and when he approached the tabernacle, he saw the theft and reported it to the police. The hosts did not have a material value, however, they have spiritual value for the religious community. Surveillance cameras might have caught the thieves. The Police are investigating.
A French court ruled that 6 of 10 children had to be removed from their parents home because their catholic mother enrolled them on a catholic boarding school. Two of the six children have now been put into a foster family of Muslim descent, who refuses to educate the children in accordance with their Catholic faith, mother Clare says. The children have additionally been taken out of their Catholic boarding schools and put back into state schools. The mother also stated that the foster family tries to change their children believe, by teaching them Muslim prayers and worldviews. A petition to help the family get their children back has been launched.
Faisal Jahangir a Pakistani Christian is facing deportation in Germany, despite being fully integrated. Jahangir lives and works in Germany since 13 years. Despite him facing a great threat of religious persecution in Pakistan, the german authorities remain tough. If he doesn't leave voluntarily, he might face a three-year ban. He is now trying to get a visa through the church.
A bill proposed on May 21 would punish Pro-Life campaigners near abortion clinics. The bill is said to criminalise "harassing women going to clinics for the voluntary interruption of pregnancy." If the bill passes pro-life groups campaigning near abortion clinics could either face a prison sentence of up to one year, or community service of up to 80 Days. In individual cases, an individual could also be barred from the specific location for a minimum of six months and a maximum of three years. A petition to oppose the bill has been launched.
Campaigners of the 'Back Off Scotland' movement are now demanding 'buffer zones' around abortion clinics, after the numbers of terminations carried out in Scotland in 2020 became the second-highest on record. With a total of 13,815 terminations carried out, the pro-abortion lobby is requesting 'harassment' free access. Campaigners are stating that many women feel intimidated by Pro-Life supporters who gather in front of abortion clinics. The Scottish government is currently considering implementing the buffer zones.
A Proposed conversion therapy ban could cause "an unlawful interference" with several human rights laws protecting the freedom of religious belief and expression, says human rights lawyer P Havers. Everyday Christian activity could also be criminalized says, Havers. The ban would criminalise biblical teaching on human sexuality and gender. The UK government is considering the proposed ban. A decision is expected in Autumn says a MP.
The Motiron Chapel in Val d'Ajol in the Vosges had been twice a victim of vandalism and theft. The first time was in June 2017 when a group of young perpetrators blackened the face of the Virgin with a candle and the second time on 20th May when the trunk of the chapel has been torn off and stolen. The owners filled a complain to the police.
On the night of 22 May, unknown perpetrators are said to have set several rubbish bins on fire in the neighbourhood of Sanità in Naples. It is reported that the rubbish bins were left close to the San Vincenzo Church. The residents in the Sanità neighbourhood have informed the police, who together with the fire brigade were able to contain the fire. "In just a few seconds the air became unbreathable and we were forced to lock ourselves in to prevent the smoke from entering our homes", said one complainer to the police. The police are still investigating.
Lesley Pilkington is a former Christian counsellor that was tricked by an undercover journalist to provide counselling for his "unwanted same-sex attraction". Approached by Strudwick during a Christian conference, the Chrisitan counsellor with over 20 years of experience agreed to help the man. After a few sessions, the man filled a complaint against Lesley to the British Association for Counselling & Psychotherapy (BACP) to get her 'struck off'. However, the Appeal Panel lessened the original sanctions against her and reversed much of the original decision.
The Church Saint Wolfgang in the Parish of Haidhausen, Germany has received a threat of arson. Vandals sprayed onto the church walls "The only illuminated Church, is the one, on fire". A slogan often used by anarchist or radical left groups attacking the church. Father Alfons Friedrich discovered the act and reported it immediately to the police. The case might have happened sometime between 16 May and 18 May. This is not the first attack on the Sait Wolfgang Church. It has been reported that in Fall 2019 unknown perpetrators broke into the church and destroyed the churches pipe organ - built in 1907 - causing over 6,000 Euros damage. The Police are investigating, charges against "unknown" have been pressed.
The Saint Alexander's Church in Warsaw has been vandalized by the Women's Strike group. The perpetrators painted a lightning bolt onto the churches facade, which is the groups' symbol, and poured paint onto the same. A video posted on Twitter shows the extent of the vandalistic act. Inscriptions were also painted on the pavement in front of the church. The attack shows that their primary intention was to disfigure the church located in Warsaw's Trzech Krzyży Square.
On 8 May, the church of Notre-Dame in Altkirch in the Haut-Rhin region, has been damaged. This has not been the first act of vandalism. Due to the repetitive attacks, the church has closed its door to the public until further notice. A complaint has been filled to the police.
A 38-year-old caused a considerable amount of damage in the Saint John Church in Kitzingen. At around midday, the perpetrator is said to have climbed over the boundaries of the altar, where he threw down all the candlesticks which were partially damaged. He is also accused of having damaged the microphone system and the painting of Saint John from Jacques Grassmann with a sharp object. The 2 x 3-metre high altar painting was stabbed various times. The damage is summed to several thousand Euros. Police could identify and arrest the culprit.
Maristella, Italy. Unknown perpetrators are said to have attacked the church of the Virgin Stella Maris, in the village of Maristella in Alghero. It is reported that the attack happened on the night of 14 May. The perpetrators have allegedly put one of eight palm trees which are located near the entrance of the church on fire. The immediate action of municipal police and firefighters stopped the fire before it could affect the Church. It is also assumed that they destroyed a tablet at the Stella Maris' entrance. A fire in the nearby forest was also reported and brought under control by firefighters. The fire is assumed to have caused a yet unknown sum of damage. Police are investigating.
A life-size crucifix has been stolen sometime overnight between 12 May and 13 May 2021. The six-foot-high crucifix has been stolen from the All Saints' Church in Gosforth, Newcastle. The crucifix, which has been on display since 1965 "was situated in a consecrated area where many ashes are buried." said Rev Canon Andrew Shipton, from the All Saints' Church. He added, " It was a great shock to find that it had gone and a cause of considerable sadness". The police are asking the public for any information about the crucifix' disappearance and its possible whereabouts. The police are asking the perpetrators to return the crucifix, as it is also of immense sentimental worth.
The CEO of Scotland's largest grant-making trust, Kenneth Ferguson, has been fired for allowing the Stirling Free Church to rent Trust premises. Robertson Trusts Chairwoman Shonaig Macpherson is accused of having shammed and humiliated the organisation's CEO, over his link to the Stirling Free Church and their biblical views on marriage. A ruling in the case is expected soon.
The church of Saint Francis on Langenwand has been vandalised multiple times. Unknown perpetrators have entered the church where they graffitied the walls, tore off the barrier tapes to delimit the seats and left cigarette burns on the seat cushions and the kneelers. The altar has also been desecrated when the culprit(s) cleared the sacred goods away. The police have been informed.
Catholic MP Francisco J. Contreras in Spain got his Twitter account suspended for 12 hours after posting a Tweet saying that man can't get pregnant since they have neither an ovary nor a uterus. Twitter claimed that tweet to be 'inciting hatred'. Contreras published the tweet in response to an article claiming that a man gave birth to a child. The suspension fueled an already sensitive discussion.
The Marta Shimoni Church in Mehri, Turkey has been desecrated by currently unknown perpetrators. Since the Church is built into a cave and thus cannot be destroyed like any other church, the nature of the attack must have been severe. Footage obtained by the International Christian Concern (ICC) Organization shows items and relics inside the Church being destroyed, amongst others pictures of Jesus Christ, rosaries and crosses. It is unknown whether the incident was reported to the police or not.
On 9 May 2021, unknown perpetrators destroyed a statue of the Virgin Mary. The over 100-year-old statue was ripped from its pedestal and then shattered. The statue was placed in the historical chapel in the Uzbornia forest in Poland which was built in 1880 and renovated in 2013. The city council, Mariusz Zając and other parishioners abhor the act. The police are investigating.
Trent Colleges' school chaplain Reverend Dr Bernard Randall held a sermon at the schools chapel in June 2018, in which he encouraged students to respect and debate upon 'identity beliefs' and 'identity ideology'. Rev Dr Randall was afterwards reported to the governments' anti-terrorist unit 'Prevent' and forced out of his job. The school claimed that the sermon was "harmful to LGBT+" Students, and Rev Dr Randalls views were extremist. The former chaplain is now taking Trent College to court for unfair dismissal, discrimination, harassment and victimization. A hearing is awaited for June 14, 2021.
A swiss Court in Geneva ruled the ban of public worship as unlawful. As safety precautions regarding the spreading of COVID-19, Geneva banned religious services and events except for funerals and weddings with restricted capacity. Although religious gatherings were banned, public gatherings were still allowed to take place. Dr Sommeruga, who was assisted by ADF International took the ban to Court. He is "delighted to celebrate this win for religious freedom".
A baptistery stolen from an evangelical church in the district of Waldeck-Frankenberg in Germany has been found. The baptistery from the 17 century has been found and brought back to its rightful place. According to the local authorities, the baptistery made of brass has been stolen from the evangelical church back in March of 2021. The police did not give any information about how they discovered the baptistery due to ongoing investigations. It is to be assumed that since the incident the church has not been able to carry out any baptisms.
The designated bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Mission Diocese of Finland, Dr Juhana Pohjola, has been charged for 'incitement to hate speech against a certain group of people' by the Finnish Attorney General's Office. Similarly to the case of Finnish MP Päivi Räsänen, the reason for the charges placed against Dr Pohjola is his editorship of a booklet published by the Luther Foundation Finland (ELMDF) in 2004 and written by Räsänen. Beforehand, all charges have been dropped by the Helsinki Police because they could not identify any broken law by the booklet since same-sex marriage was only legalised in Finland in 2017.
The historic statute of Christ, classified as a historical monument since 1949, has been stolen from the church of Saint-François in Saint-Nazaire. The wooden statue, disappeared between 3rd and 10th April 2021. There is a high probability that the statute has been stolen during the opening hours in the middle of the day. A complaint has been filed to the police and an investigation has been underway.
On the 2nd May, 6th May and on the weekend, the church of Saint-Matoury has been vandalized. The faithful have found that the perpetrators managed to break into the church from a broken window situated at the back of the church. They found that they stole the tabernacle and partly ransacked the nave. Later, the church has again been a victim of numerous robberies and thefts. The parish and political authorities condemned these acts and an investigation has been opened.
Between the 17 and 19 May, the 50 centimetres high statue of Saint Jacques has been stolen. The 15th century limestone statute has among the historical monuments listed in the supplementary inventory on the 4th of May 1988. It has been in the commune of La Pernelle, in the Manche region. There are worries that the virgin in the grotto and in the church or at the baptismal font could also be stolen. The police of Saint-Vaast-la-Hougue or the town hall of La Pernelle are asking for clues and witnesses.
During the night of 30 April to 1 May, unknown perpetrators vandalised two churches, as well as, monuments and streetlamps illuminating the Barbaresco-Tower. Windows of the San Bernardo Chruch were smashed in with stones. The stones also damged the ambo, causing it to fall and break. Another Church along the Pilgrimage route of Saint James was also affected. It has been reported that the perpetrators smashed beer bottles against the walls of the thousand-year-old church of San Giorgio. A few monuments and streetlamps illuminating the Barbaresco-Tower have also been vandalized and damaged through stones. Residents reported the incident and Town-Councillor Laura Gandolfo ordered an immediate investigation.
During the weekend of 1st and 3rd May , ten graves were vandalized in the Graville cemetery in Le Havre. In addition, religious objects on the altar from the chapel of the Virgin Mary have been broken.
Between 29 to 30 April, unknown perpetrators broke the window of a church in Schlema. According to the police a side entrance door of the church was smashed and an unknown liquid was applied to the facade of the building. The damage amounts up to 2.000 Euros. The police are investigating for damage to property.
MP Pävi Räsänen is facing three criminal charges for alleged hate speech brought against her by the Finnish Prosecutor General. This is not the first time MP Räsänen is being investigated for hate speech by the police but the first time she is confronted with criminal charges. The medical doctor, mother of five, and grandmother of six is accused of having engaged in “hate speech” for publicly voicing her opinion on marriage and human sexuality in a 2004 pamphlet, for comments made on a 2018 TV show and, most recently, a tweet directed at her church leadership. The Prosecutor General considers that Räsänen's statements are likely to cause intolerance, contempt and hatred towards homosexuals. The charges will be heard later at the Helsinki District Court.
By the end March in Romans-sur-Isère, a mother noticed that a large pot of flowers as well as the statute of Saint Gabriel have been stolen from the grave of the 37-age man. Shocked and affected by the act of the theft, the mother reported the incident to the police.
After the cemetery in Nowa Wieś Ełcka was first vandalised and then destroyed by felled trees, it is now to be restored to its original state. The bishop of the parish, Paweł Hause, said: "Destroying the sign of the cross, which is on an old gravestone, by handling it with heavy equipment, overturning it, destroying it and burying it, offends the feelings of all Christians - Catholics, Evangelicals, Orthodox. It was the residents of the village, Catholics, who first pointed out this anti-Christian behaviour. Whatever the perpetrators and those responsible say, there has been a lack of respect for the dead and for the cemetery, which is and should remain holy ground."
The priest's car, the church façade and the surveillance cameras of the church of Gussago, Franciacorta, were vandalised the night before 26 April. The perpetrators were a group of youths who had been celebrating frequently during services, next to the church the days before. After the parish priest Don Adriano Dabellani complained and called the carabinieri, vandalistic acts were perpetrated in the following nights, probably in revenge. The vandals wrote blasphemies on the priest's car, as well as on the façade of the church. Police are investigating.
From January 2020 onwards, damage of the church of Saint-Tudy in Loctudy have been regularly reported due to the repetitive acts of vandalism. The parishioners complained that on Palm Sunday, the Paschal candle were broken into two and that the curtains have been torn off and the frost, hydroalcoholic as well as confessionals gel were thrown and spilled on the pews of the church. Another act of vandalism occurred on the 17th April when lit and overturned candles were thrown into a trunk. In addition, inside the trunk, banknotes have been partially burnt. Due to these repetitive acts of vandalism and damage, the church will only be opened during mass times. Otherwise, it will remain closed until further notice.
On the night of 22 April, the church of Sainte-Thérèse de l'Enfant Jésus in the Nétreville district of Évreux was the victim of a burglary for the seventh time in six months. In the process, a wooden statue of the Virgin Mary was found lying on the floor with large cuts to its head, having been subjected to repeated attempts at destruction in the days before. The other complaints in the intervening period include damage to several entrances to the interior of the church and the theft of numerous religious items. Meanwhile, a suspect has been arrested. The police is investigating.
After the stone capital on the steps of the Marian Sanctuary of San Francesco all'Immacolata in Corso Vittorio Emanuele in Noto was vandalised, the perpetrator has now been identified and reported. The police were able to gather useful clues with the help of images from the video surveillance in the area, which made it possible to establish the identity of the vandal. It is a 33-year-old man already known to the police, who is facing charges of serious damage to historical objects - a Unesco World Heritage Site.
Pastor John Sherwood, the pastor of a church in North London, preached a sermon on a public street on 23 April, in which he advocated for the biblical image of the family consisting of a father, mother and children and that marriage can only be between a man and a woman. After a while, some police officers appeared on the scene, approached Pastor Sherwood and stated that three complaints had been received about the sermon. After a lengthy conversation between the pastor and the police officers, the police officers asked him to come down from the steps where he was standing and said that he was now under arrest. The police accusation was that Pastor Sherwood had made homophobic remarks. An officer then took the Bible from the pastor's hand, pulled him off the steps and handcuffed him behind his back. The pastor was arrested for causing alarm and distress under section 5 of the Public Order Act, according to police. The preacher was detained by the police for about 21 hours, and he is still under investigation after his release.
In Pleumeur-Bodou in the Côtes d'Armor, a theft act has been committed in the cemeteries. Numerous funerary objects as well as flowers have been stolen. The town hall and the first deputy, Christelle Broudic, condemns these thefts. The police operation will be intensified in order to prevent these criminal acts.
Unknown perpetrators committed an act of vandalism in two churches in Bad Griesbach in the District of Rottal. The incidents happened on the weekend of 17 and 18 April. The damage caused by the perpetrators is estimated to be around 5.000 Euros. The Police are investigating, and asking the public for help.
On 19 April, in front of the Polish Church of the Assumption at 'Concorde' in Paris, the bust of St John Paul II was vandalised . An unknown perpetrator covered the bust with red paint. Father Paweł Witkowski mentioned the great merits and achievements of John Paul II, who "certainly did not deserve such treatment". The case is being investigated by the police.
For the second time in a month, the church of Lazzaretto in Golasecca has been vandalised. This time the perpetrators damaged the door and vandalised the interior. Unknown persons had already broken into the small sacred building on 21 March, at which time the parish priest had filed a complaint with the Carabinieri. The church of Saints Simon and Judas is located in the woods near the village. The police are investigating.
On the afternoon of 15 April, a fire was set at the door of the church of Saints Jacopo and Filippo in Montecatini Alto. The door was partially destroyed. The fire brigade and the Carabinieri intervened right away. So far, there seem to be no direct witnesses to the arson, which can be safely assumed. The police are investigating.
A woman vandalised sacred objects in the sanctuary of the Maxkirche in Düsseldorf between 12 and 16 April. The perpetrator threw candles and altar cloths on the floor. The congregation is shocked at the extent of the devastation. The city Deacon, Frank Heidkamp, said: "An adult woman threw candles, candlesticks, floral arrangements, altar cloths and sacrificial candles on the floor during normal opening hours last week and obviously caused this devastation with wanton intent." The case was recorded on a security camera and has already been handed over to the police, who is now investigating.
Vandals attacked the parish cemetery in Mosina during the night of 11 to 12 April. Broken candles and other damages were found. The case was also investigated by the police, who have already arrested one person. The city police also found a vandalised car in a nearby car park.
Over the Easter weekend, form 3 to 5 April, both churches, the church of Rides, in the commune of Cours, and Marsac, in the commune of Laugnac were vandalized. The perpetrators used old stone cross from the cemetery in order to break down the doors of the churches. Both churches are isolated and emptied of all materials for a long time. Locals and rural elected representatives are often faced with this type of vandalism and delinquency by perpetrators who do not respect places of worships.
On the 12th of April, particularly around 11am, one of the aisles of the the 12th-13th century church of Saint-Hilaire in Bouy has been set on fire. The origin of the fire remains unknown. The firemen were successful to douse the fire with water.
In Höxter, unknown perpetrators vandalised the church of St. Anna on 11 April. Inside the church they destroyed the ornamental organ pipes. The vandals also lit candles, spread matches on the floor and left two notes with inscriptions. The damage to property amounts to 1.000€. The incident was reported to the police.
After red-light parties with prostitutes were held in the Cassino cemetery, the local church officials felt compelled to return sanctity to the desecrated place and rededicate the cemetery. "This rite of reparation", the diocese said, "became necessary as a result of the recent judicial investigation of the management of the municipal cemetery, which revealed serious acts that qualify as desecration of the bodies. In the name of the Church and representing the entire community of Setina, we went to the cemetery, prayed for the deceased buried there and renewed the rite of blessing the cemetery as an act of reparation for the desecration and sacrilege committed."
The church of Fraternité Scerdotale Saint-Pie X churches has been vandalized during the night of 9-10 April. More specifically, the gate and the fence have been tagged with sprayed as well as red paint. It has been assumed that the main perpetrators are from the left-wing movement in Nantes since the tags included a sickle and a hammer. In the morning of 10th April, the tags have been removed by the SSPX.
During the night of 8 to 9 April, the Notre-Dame Réconciliatrice chapel in Paris was broken into. The chapel is located 500 metres from the church of Saint-Joseph des Nations which was also a victim of a burglary during the night of 4th to 5th April. The unknown perpetrators stole Easter collections, the large chest containing, two ciboria used at Holy Thursday, and other religious objects. The altar cloth was also stolen.
The Armenian monastery of Saint Magar in the North of Cyprus has been desecrated by an illegal techno party. The party is said to have taken place in March, although a video of the party was only released in April. The Religious Leaders of the Island have now released a statement declaring: “The Religious Leaders of Cyprus condemn this unfortunate act and any misuse, disrespect and desecration of places of worship and cemeteries in Cyprus, irrespective of intention, religion, dogma and denomination". In their statement, they pointed out that all places of worship and cemeteries, in use or not, are protected against vandalism. They stated furthermore that “disrespecting places of worship and cemeteries creates pain, nurtures mistrust and becomes an obstacle to peaceful coexistence”.
On the 7th of April, the French authorities received information from the Moroccan General Directorate for Territorial Surveillance (DGSI) about a French woman of Moroccan origin who lives in Béziers. This woman was "planning an imminent terrorist operation targeting a church in France." According to the investigations, she lives in Dévèze, a ‘’sensitive’’ district of Béziers, and intended to carry out the act. The investigators found in her flat a sword and mechanism as well as materials to make TATP, which is a powerful explosive. The woman remains in custody.
A fire broke out in the empty church of St. Mary's Assumption in Gelsenkirchen on the evening of Easter Monday, 5 April. The fire brigade was on the scene with 80 emergency personnel. The fire started inside the building and had broken out into the sacristy. From there, the fire spread to the nave and smoke came out of the roof. While the cause of the fire was initially completely unclear, the police announced the following day that "deliberate arson is to be assumed".
During the night of Sunday to Monday, the wall of the old cemetery, just behind the church in the street of Rhome, has been destroyed. Anne-Sophie Peureux-Demangelle, the mayor of Lachapelle-sous-Chaux, claims that the wall did not fall down by itself. It was a clear act of vandalism with a tractor. The perpetrators circulated a video on social media particularly Snapchat. They commented: 'We didn't fake it last night'." The town hall has filed a complaint to the police.
As part of the investigation to determine the causes of the fire that damaged the collegiate church of Saint-Nicolas in Avesnes-sur-Helpe on Monday 5 April, a young man has been taken into custody. According to the Cécile Gressier, the public prosecutor in Avesnes-sur-Helpe, the man of ‘’foreign nationality, known to the judicial services for common crimes,’’ was arrested the next day in a neighbouring town. On the Easter weekend, the religious building, a listed historic monument, was damaged and numerous valuable works of art. The police suspect the fire has been set deliberately and is investigating under arson.
On the night of Easter Sunday, thieves gained entry into the Église Saint-Joseph des Nations church in Paris. They escaped with the proceeds of the collection, two sacred vessels and a consecrated host. According to Aleteia, “the thieves took away the large chest containing the proceeds of Easter collections, three (empty) boxes and two ciboriums that they located by forcing the doors of the tabernacle. The hosts were found on the altar tablecloth, while the large host used for adoration was taken away by the vandals. The police are investigating.
On the night of Easter Sunday, April 4th, unknown perpetrators tagged the facade of the town parish church in Aichach with an insulting and stereotyping slogan. In the morning, the sacristan reported the damage to property to the police. The police are investigating.
In the days immediately before Easter, the parish of Saints Leo and Nicholas in the town of Scalo in the Gallo D'Oro area was targeted. During the night, unknown persons broke into the church through a smashed window and stole from the church interior only a few coins that were kept in the offertory. They also broke open a door and stole a loudspeaker. The police are investigating.
Three unknown, alcoholised young Muslim men have disturbed the Easter Vigil service of the Evangelical Lutheran Church "Zum Heiligen Geist" in Nidda, Central Hesse. According to the church congregation, they repeatedly attacked worshippers (especially children and teenagers) and shouted "There is only one God, and that is Allah" and "Allah is the greatest". The unknown perpetrators had already insulted some of the worshippers outside the church and even filmed them. The perpetrators were asked to leave numerous times, also because they did not wear masks but refused to do so. The State Security Service has started an investigation for disturbing the exercise of religion.
On the 2nd of April posters explicitly attacking the Catholic Church and mocking the holy cross were hung on the door of the Polish House in Bydgoszcz. The Catholic House in Bydgoszcz, also called the Polish House, is a historic public building used as a place of activity by Catholic organisations and associations in Bydgoszcz. The unknown perpetrators also left the blasphemous inscription: "The secret of faith - cars and dollars". The holy cross, The incident was reported by the church authorities to the city police.
On charges of violating COVID-19 rules, police in the UK have interrupted up a Good Friday service celebrated at the Roman Catholic Christ the King Church in London. Police also threatened to fine each person sitting in the pews $280. According to the British Independent newspaper, churches are allowed to hold services during the lockdown in England with no limit on the number of parishioners as long as the congregation adheres to social distancing and wears masks. The church rejected the police claims, saying in a statement, "We believe, however, that the police brutally exceeded their powers by issuing their warrant for no good reason, as all government requirements were met."
A statue of the Virgin Mary of historical value has been destroyed at the Holy Spirit Church in Koszalin in Poland on 1 April. The statue was of exceptional value since it was given to the Parish by a survivor of the Dachau concentration camp and was seen as a shrine of memorial for the ones who did not survive the camp. The chapel in which the statue was standing was also vandalised. Police are investigating.