Mary Onuoha was constructively dismissed in 2020 from the Croydon NHS Trust Hospital in London for wearing a golden cross necklace. She now has won the case against her unfair dismissal for discrimination and harassment, with the help of the Christian Legal Center, as it was communicated on 5. January. The Hospital had said her necklace was "too visible" and posed a ‘risk of injury or infection’, but the ruling found out that other medical staff wore jewellery, religious attire and badges, and that this was "widely tolerated". The ruling declared the dismissal of Mrs Onuoha discriminatory and arbitrary, and recognized her right to religious freedom, such as wearing a cross necklace.
An explosion caused by unknown perpetrators occurred outside the Church of St. Paul in Athens at about 12:30 AM on New Year's, as reported by Protothema.gr. The explosion was caused by ten gas canisters placed outside the church, which caused minor material damage, such as blackened spots on the church's facade. A similar event took place in 2018, where two people were wounded. The police are investigating the attack.
The Newspaper "Ultima Hora" reported that a woman, who had been in jail for several assaults and vandalism against Catholic priests and Churches, was released recently. After leaving jail, she went towards several Churches and physically assaulted the priests. She was at Sant Miquel Church, where she attacked the priest Mossèn Antoni Gómez and then headed towards the Sant Felip Nei Church while shouting "I'm going to crucify you. You're going to God." The police was alerted by Mr. Gomez and took her back into custody.
Around the 27. December, the consecrated Hosts of the San Michele Church in Menna were stolen by unknown perpetrators. The mayor of Vasto Francesco Menna denounced the incident: "It is deplorable what happened in the church of San Michele in Vasto, where a pyx with consecrated hosts was stolen." The mayor asked the citizens to collaborate with the investigators to identify the person responsible.
On the night of 27. to 28. December, the figure of baby Jesus, who is part of the nativity scene located in front of the church of San Filippo Neri in Ciliverghe di Mazzano, was found beheaded. This was reported on Tuesday morning on social networks, which upset the citizens of that town. There is one security camera at the church, but it was not facing towards the place, where the nativity scene was, so it will be hard for the police to identify the perpetrators. The parish priest, Don Roberto Rovaris, commented: "There is no respect, outside of faith, for the ideas of others."
On December 27th, the San Paterniano church in Perusa was vandalised by unknown persons. The security cameras show images of an overturned table, and all the objects on it, such as brochures, holy pictures and the offering box, were lying on the floor. Also, the microphone was broken and candlesticks were scattered around. The parish priest, Anton Sascau, is seen in the video with a grieving voice and commenting on this act of vandalism, but he also said he would welcome the responsible person.
The facade of the Basilica of the Holy Cross in Warsaw was defaced with graffiti on the 25th of December. The church is in the centre of Warsaw and has a special place in Polish history. On the outer walls, unknown perpetrators wrote the phrases "Secular State", "Techno will be here", among other tags. As a church, but also because of its historical value, the vandalisation of the church has aroused the indignation of many people. The police are investigating the case, as there were security cameras that recorded the scene.
A Catholic marketing association (ACdP) denounced on the 23rd December, that the three municipal public transport companies operating in Barcelona had censored a Christmas campaign that reminds people about the birth of Jesus as the centre of Christmas. The message that was meant to be displayed throughout the whole country was not visible in Barcelona. The slogan said: "Only one birth has changed the course of history. And it is not yours. Merry Christmas!". It aimed to vindicate the Christian meaning of this holiday with humour. The company Transportes Metropolitanos de Barcelona (TMB) censored the message because the authorities considered it "ideological".
On the night of December 23rd, a group of unknown people vandalised the St Peter's Church at Upper Arley in Worcestershire. The perpetrators urinated inside the church, damaged pews and a piano with graffiti, tore off a door and stole irreplaceable items. They urinated near the church altar and left the bell tower's doors open, which left the place unprotected against the rain. According to Louvain Beer, treasurer and lay minister at the church, the police did not attend the case until the 27th of December, and now they are investigating it as a hate crime.
As it was reported on the 19. December, the parish priest and the faithful of the church of Santa Maria Porto della Salute in Fiumicino found some Nativity scene figures destroyed. The life-size statues made of plaster and fibreglass of a shepherd and a donkey were thrown to the ground. The former had both hands cut off and the donkey had a broken ear. The other statues did not receive damage, as they were fixed to the structure.
On 18. December, an unknown perpetrator destroyed the shrine of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in the parish of Divine Mercy in Głogów. The glass protecting the figure of Christ was found broken in six areas and the figure itself was also damaged. The perpetrator might have used a large stone found in the vicinity. This person also left a broken beer bottle next to the chapel. The police are investigating and looking for the perpetrator(s).
On the 14. December, the French Government presented its yearly listing of attacks against Christians. There were 1,380 anti-religious attacks between January and October 2021, from which 686 were targeted against Christians. As Father Hugues de Woillemont, spokesman for French Bishops' Conference, said during a press conference on December 14: "The acts listed are very varied, from tags on the wall of a church to the desecration of tabernacles." These numbers only include formal complaints filed by the police, so the dark numbers could be higher.
A mosque in Beauvais in northern France has been ordered to shut down for six months for hosting preachings that incited hatred "against Christians, homosexuals and jews". According to the prefecture of the Oise department, the mosque was "inciting hatred", "violence" and "apology of jihad". Gérald Darmanin, France's interior minister, announced on December 14th that he had started the procedure for the closure of this mosque.
A Madrid court has ruled on December 13. that the distribution in schools of sex education guides called “Gender Rebel” in Getafe violated the right to religious freedom of Christian children, as it mocks Christian symbols and violates the right of parents to educate their children according to their beliefs. These guides ridiculed the chastity of the Virgin Mary and invite teenagers to masturbate, affirming that it is not a sin. The guides were promoted by the city council, as well as the ministry of equality.
Between 12. December and 14. December, unknown persons damaged several windows of the Evangelical church in Bad Arolsen-Helsen. The perpetrator(s) threw stones at the windows, causing damage of around 1,000 euros. The police are investigating.
In the centre of the city of Malaga. the church of San Felipe Neri, was vandalised on 11. December with offensive tags against the religious institution. These were made with spray paint by unknown vandals and have left the community of faithful very affected. One tag says "Sacrilego tú" (you sacrilegious) was graffitied on a mosaic of Jesus. Another message on the door reads: "Dead paedophiles". It seems that the police was able to identify and arrest the perpetrators.
On the 11. November, the Catholic Charity "Aid to a Church in Need" (ACN) UK noticed that Facebook had censored its ad campaign on tackling sexual violence against religious-minority women and girls. “Hear Her Cries” was the slogan of the campaign, which launched on 24. November. The campaign aimed to raise concern on a widespread problem in many African and Asian countries: the abduction of Christian girls and women for sexual violence by both armed extremists and militant members of other religious communities.
24 hours after it was put on public display in the monastery of El Escorial in the town of San Lorenzo, the statue of the baby Jesus was found decapitated and missing an arm. Those in charge of the San Lorenzo Town Hall are restoring the figures so that they can once again be exhibited in public. The nativity scene in El Escorial is made up of 450 figures, made with a wooden frame, painted paper pulp and clothes donated by the people of the village.
Police in Łęczyńska arrested an 18-year-old on December 8th, after hitting a priest in the face and threatening him. The perpetrator was drinking outside the parish of St. Barbara in Łęczna when one of the nuns working in the parish noticed him, as he was behaving noisily and drinking alcohol. She then reported this to the local parish priest, who asked the man to leave. The drunken man hit him in the face and threatened to kill him. He may be imprisoned for up to 5 years for the damage to property.
On Wednesday 8. December, ten people violently attacked a procession of 30 believers on the occasion of the feast of the Immaculate Conception in Nanterre (Hauts-de-Seine). The Catholics were threatened with phrases like "I swear by the Koran, I will cut your throats" and insulted by being called "Kafirs", which means "infidel". The attackers also threw water and even a torch in their direction. In response to these actions and the threats made, the Minister of the Interior condemned the attacks.
On Sunday morning (5. December), the churchgoers found the Johanneskirche in Feuersee completely vandalised. The perpetrator(s) devastated the Protestant church by destroying over 20 windows, breaking open the cupboards, taking the bibles from the shelves and throwing them around, among other things during the night of the 4. December. The damage is estimated at over 10 thousand Euros and the Church has to remain closed for the time being. The police are investigating to find the perpetrator(s).
In the first week of December, an internal document outlining communication guidelines for European Union staff was leaked, which raised concern among the Christian population. In this document, the EU Commissioner for Equality, Helena Dalli of Malta, proposed replacing the term "Happy Christmas" for "Happy Holidays" or calling Christmas a "winter break" in the name of inclusivity. Among the Christian voices that raised concern, Pope Francis called this action "a fashion of a watered-down secularism" and called it an "anachronism". The document has since been withdrawn.
On the night of 26th to 27th November around midnight, a fire struck a church in Boulonnais in the town of Le Portel. The church Saint-Pierre Saint-Paul had already been vandalised a couple of days before. The fire started at the back of the religious building in the sacristy where the equipment of the parish priest and volunteers is kept. Nineteen firemen intervened to control the fire, which threatened the whole church. The police arrested a 36-year-old suspect during the night as he was trying to flee, as the police commissioner of Boulogne, Arnaud Jublin, explained. A hearing of the suspect will take place soon.
A parishioner of the church of Fronton in Toulouse witnessed on the 26. November how a fire broke out on the altar of the church. Thanks to his quick reaction, the fire was rapidly brought under control. The investigation launched by the police showed that the fire had been set by a minor. The young man has been taken into police custody and will be tried in February 2022.
The parish of St. Mary Magdalene reported an attack that took place on the 23. November in the morning. Police were notified by the parish priest that someone had smashed the windows with a stone in the sacristy and the utility room. The damage was estimated at 1.5 thousand PLN according to the police. This is not the first case in recent days, as on the 14. November, three lanterns and lamps illuminating the facade were destroyed at the same church. The investigation of that case is still running.
On the "International Day for Tolerance", the OSCE released a Hate Crimes Report, which documented 980 descriptive incidents against Christians out of 4008 incidents. Descriptive incidents are the ones documented by civil society organizations, such as the Observatory. There is a larger number of cases when police numbers are counted. The Observatory has drawn attention to the rising trend (70%) of Anti-Christian Hate Crimes since last year, considering that only 8 out of the 136 civil society or international organisations consistently reported crimes with Anti-Christian bias.
The Viennese police caught a 40-year-old man in a Church in Vienna-Mariahilf on the morning of the 11th after a burglary. He was temporarily handcuffed and the stolen offertory money was seized, as the Vienna Police Directorate reported in a press release on Friday. According to spokeswoman Barbara Gass, about 55 euros were found on the man. The perpetrator has been imprisoned.
A 38-year-old man was arrested while setting fire to the small chapel of St. Anna in Jasienica in the city of Myślenice on the 8. November. The police were alerted and managed to arrive on the scene in time to arrest the man and initiate operations to reduce the fire. The arriving patrol officers noticed that the window glass of the building was broken and the assailant was still inside. "He lit a fire there, expecting the fire to consume this small building." They pulled the man out of the window and handcuffed him. According to the police spokesman, Sebastian Gleń, the perpetrator explained he committed this act due to his beliefs and that his aim was to destroy the chapel completely. He is now awaiting sentencing, which could be up to ten years in prison.
Politician Beatriz Bandera posted on Twitter on the 2. November a short video of the Sevillian Holy Week devotees during their yearly procession with the caption "Our Taliban". With this post, she compares faithful Catholics during a peaceful procession with the terrorist group of radical Islamist fundamentalists. Despite the criticism and offence that her commentary has generated, Mrs Bandera has not apologised, "I criticise what I finance with my taxes. Can I? Or not?", she reiterated.
The Welsh government has admitted that the ban on conversion therapy "could lead to the prosecution of religious leaders". The ban on conversion therapy was announced by the Queen in May this year and was welcomed by the Bench of Bishops in the Church in Wales. The document presented by the government leaves aside questions such as the possibility to attack religious freedom and claims that conversion therapies cause harm, although it gives "no evidence to justify the claim". Since then, Christian groups have raised concern that the ban could apply for private prayer and conversations, undermining religious freedom. The consultation by the Government will be open until 10. December 2021.
According to a report by ABC, the theft of consecrated Hosts in Spain has been a yearly phenomenon that occurs with special emphasis in the days leading up to halloween. The fathers recall finding the churches damaged after the hosts were stolen. This has happened in different churches for the last 10 years. Famed Spanish exorcist Fr. José Antonio Fortea reported that desecrations are taking place in many dioceses, but "the media do not usually report it". Many priests also fail to report such thefts, fearing that going public would have a "domino effect". Although these desecrating incidents happen annually, the police has not put up any preventive safety measures.
On the 31. October at night, the St. Nicholas Church in Immenstadt was damaged by graffiti. The unknown perpetrator(s) sprayed the words "Die Heiligen Geschwister Scholl" (The holy Scholl siblings) in black paint on the wall, causing damage of about 500 euros. The police are running an investigation. On the 31. October, there was increased vandalism in the whole region.
On the evening of 30. October, a fire broke out in the premises next to the church of Sant'Aniceto in Villar Perosa. Thanks to the Fire Brigade and volunteers, the fire was brought under control and no one was hurt. The parish priest, Don Orlando Aguilar Tobon, suspects that the fire was voluntary because the cleaning ladies noticed the smell of cigarettes and found a disordered room, later he was informed that a fire had broken out from a locked cabinet. A bottle of wine and two glasses were also found in the room.
On 28. October at around 7.15 pm., witnesses found that there had been several damages to property in the church in Hellenthal. The organ and other objects were smeared with wax, and a burnt hole was found in the pew, among other things. The damage amounts to a few hundred euros. The damage to the property must have taken place between 10 am and 7 pm. The police opened an investigation.
At around 12.30 p.m. on 28. October, the police received a report of damage to property in the evangelical Frauenberg church in Sangerhäuser Straße, Nordhausen. A 25-year-old Afghan man had gone into the church, emptied it for "religious reasons" and broken a Crucifix. The police have filed a complaint of damage to property. The amount of damage is not yet known, but the damaged Crucifix had a high historical value to the community, which will be immediately restored.
On the 28. October at night, vandals sprayed messages in black paint on the walls of a church in Stötteritz. Some of the tags were also against the police and the damage to property is estimated at around 1,000 euros. The police filed a report are investigating the incident.
In Neuburg, the Holy Spirit Church on Spitalplatz was smeared with graffiti on the 25. October, as was reported by the police. Between the 25th and 26th, an unknown perpetrator sprayed grey graffiti on a wall in the area of the parish garden. This caused damage amounting to 1000 euros, the police are running an investigation.
According to the police of Holzkirchen, between the 22. and 24. October, the Protestant Blessing Church in the Haidstraße was targeted for vandalism. Unknown perpetrators entered the church without any problem, as the place of worship is open every day. They destroyed the disinfectant provided and spread it on the floor of the entrance, it seems that they intended to light a fire because burn matches were found in the church, they also threw the pillows of the chairs around the church. Outside, police found a fireplace consisting of a vehicle tire and small wooden branches, although no fire was lit there.
On 22 October, the town council of Son Servera (Mallorca), which is governed by Natalia Troya, demolished the Cross of the Fallen in the Plaza de la Tercera Edad. There there was no inscription of any kind and the Cross and it had been peacefully part of the town's monuments for decades. There is serious suspicion of illegality hanging over the decision, given that in June an application was registered with the Consell de Mallorca for the Cross to be cataloged as a listed monument, and this file is pending a report which was mandatory to take any action on the monument. The town council used the "Law of Historical Memory", which was passed by the PSOE in the times of President Zapatero.
In Bochum-Langendreer, criminals have been targeting churches for looting, the last time being on the night of 23. to 24. October. The Catholic community of St. Mary's in the former Langendreer station has been the target of three burglaries this year. In February, the parish office behind the church in Marien was devastated. This time the burglars had their sight set on the church. On the night of Wednesday to Thursday (20./21. October), they broke in through the side door and stole a projector, according to the congregation. And on the night of Saturday to Sunday (23./24. October) the main entrance was broken into and the offerings were stolen.
At the end of September, a statue of the Virgin Mary of the parish church, placed in a public road in the village of Gironde, was vandalized and destroyed. A garden gnome was placed in its place. A complaint was lodged by the church's maintenance lady. A man had found pieces of the bust in a vineyard, and two days later, the head of the Virgin was placed in front of a school gate. Although the events took place at the end of September, the story first got coverage a month later. The Mayor of Le Pian-sur-Garonne was also very upset by the action, the police are investigating.
On 19. October, A 23-year-old man vandalized the church Nepomuk-Kirche in Vienna by damaging the furniture in the church and throwing things to the ground. The young man from Bangladesh was arrested shortly after witnesses saw him and raised the alarm by calling the police at around 8:30 pm. The man told the police that the church would belong to him.
A 31-year-old man was arrested after he filmed himself while sawing a cross in Zastalowski in Zielona Góra. The perpetrator posted the video of this vandalic act on the Internet. The police started the investigations to find the man, who was later successfully found and arrested. The local authorities have expressed their concern and surprise regarding this violent act. "This is the first time I have encountered such desecration in our city and I hope it will be the last time. We do not know the motives for the attack on the cross, but the incident itself is very heinous," said the Coalition Civica councilor. The secretary of the regional People's Party, Arkadiusz Dąbrowski also commented, "this is an unprecedented act of vandalism. We must respect religious symbols in our country.
On October 17, the Carfin Grotto, Scotland's National Shrine to Our Lady of Lourdes, appeared partially burnt and destroyed as unknown perpetrators deliberately made a pile and set it on fire. As Police reported, "Enquiries are ongoing and at an early stage". Meanwhile, the community has launched a micro-funding campaign to help pay the damages due to the lack of economical means. However they are even more concerned about the rise of attacks against religious places, "we hope it is addressed at a national level", said the spokesman, John Mallon.
On the 16. October, around 2.500 people gathered for the "March for Life" in Vienna, a peaceful protest for the rights of the unborn and women. The participants faced opposition and insults from activists who planned to disrupt the march and create blockades, forcing them to change the route. The call against the pro-life march was made with polarizing language by different organizations, including the ÖH (Österreichische Hochschüler_innenschaft), which is the statutory representation of students' interests, Antifa, and other political groups. They organized a "March for Ass" and displayed anti-Christian slogans such as "abort fundamentalists" or "If Mary had aborted, we would have spared you". Jan Ledochowski, spokesperson for Christian Democracy filed a formal complaint.
Christian MP David Amess was attending his regular duties in his local circumscription in a Methodist Church in Essex on 15. October, when a 25 years-old British citizen of Somali origin stabbed him to death. Soon after, the killer Ali Harbi Ali was arrested. An Anti-terrorism unit is investigating the case, given that the perpetrator has been identified as a radicalized Islamist. This murder is a direct attack on the Christian beliefs that David Amess represented. Prime Minister Boris Johnson visited the Methodist Church where the incident happened, accompanied by the Home Secretary, Priti Patel, and leader of the Opposition, Keir Starmer. People have been gathering for candlelit vigils in Leigh-on-Sea and have held church services in his memory.
The community of the Passionist Fathers of San Giovanni was having dinner when thieves broke into the convent and stole approximately 7,000 Euros, as it was reported on the 10th of October. The thieves must have known the monks' habits because the robbery was carried out without inconvenience. The money was the sum of donations, from tourists who regularly visit the monastery and from couples who get married at the abbey. As the theft became known it came as a surprise because some monks had chosen to remain silent. Police and military forces are still investigating.
During the yearly Freshers' Fair at the Oxford University, the stand of the Pro-life group "Oxford Students For Life" (OSFL) was removed by other students and activists, who threw their material into a trash bin and completely removed it from the event. The students also refused to let them reinstall their stand and threatened them with tearing it down again. The group had already been criticized on the internet, as they posted some photos of their stand. The "Oxford Feminist Society" made a statement that the presence of a pro-life organization was a "threat to the safety, health, and autonomy of women", which was backed by the Students Union. The University of Oxford condemned the censorship and harassment of the pro-life group by stating that the university had a long history of protecting free speech.
Three headstones at the graveyard of St.Mary Church have been desecrated after they were vandalised with red graffitis on . The parish prieste, Cllr Michael Sheehan, has expressed his concern and has asked to "anyone who knows any information on this to make it known to the guards and that the full rigors of the law be applied.” He further stated: "I think it’s despicable that anyone would feel so low that they would have to attack a person’s grave. St Mary’s is the site of some really old graves, dating back from centuries gone by."
Mrs. Onuoha worked at Croydon University Hospital in London for many years as a nurse and has been wearing a golden cross necklace for 40 years without any problems. During the last two years, she started being pressured to remove her cross. Her necklace was considered "too visible" and posed a ‘risk of injury or infection’, despite the jewelry pieces of other medical staff not being criticized. After her repeated refusal, Mrs. Onuoha faced an investigation, was suspended, and relegated to work as a receptionist, and was told not to mention the reason for her relegation. With help of the Christian Legal Center (CLC), she is confronting the Hospital for harassment and discrimination.