On 21 April 2011 two men broke into a Catholic church and completely destroyed three statues. They also left marks on the altar, smashed window panes and threw flowerpots around.
Piss Christ is a photograph by Andres Serrano which shows a crucifix submerged in yellow liquid. Serrano, an American artist, has declared that the amber liquid is his own urine. Piss Christ has been displayed since the beginning of April at the art gallery “Collection Lambert” in Avignon.
Father-Claret Parish, located in Altavista (Lanzarote), was vandalised by burglars. According to the media, the criminals broke into the church searching for money. Once they realised no money was there, they vandalised the property, causing significant damage. Before they left, they threw away the vase containing the holy communion.
The Spanish Constitutional Tribunal ruled that Catechism teacher Resurrección Galera Navarro whose working contract was not renewed after marrying a divorced man and not informing her employer, she was dismissed unlawfully. Employer Ferrer Guardia Catholic School in Almeria was sentenced to pay compensation. Acknowledging the human dimension of this incident, it is in any case necessary that religious institutions are able to establish their own rules and ethos.
A Spanish general practitioner from Antequera who opposes abortion was denied the right to claim conscientious objection in cases of abortion. The MD argues that his beliefs conflict with abortion advice or referral to women seeking pregnancy termination.
On April 19, 2011 hundred of tourists were evacuated from one of the most popular places of worship in the world, the Sagrada Familia Basilica, in Barcelona. A fire was intentionally started at the sacristy, and a 65 year old man was arrested in possession of a lighter and pieces of fabrics that could have been used to set the fire. No major damage was reported to Gaudi´s masterpiece. The fire burnt for about 45 minutes according to El Pais newspaper. While the fire was set up intentionally, the reasons for the attack remain unknown. Media reported the man to be “gravely disturbed”. It is clear whether the fire setting was an intentional attack against Christianit or not.
The church of Saint-Jean of Aulnay-Sous-Bois has been twice vandalised in April. The parish priest and the numerous catholic community are chocked before such acts.
Christian graves and tombstones were vandalized in Zavidovici on April 17th, 2011.
As part of the Casus Belli art exhibition, the painting "Cristo das Rías Baixas" attributed to Manuel Moldes, has been displayed on one of the walls in Santiago de Compostela. The mural size artwork shows a crucified body, up side down, and totally naked. The exhibition is supported by the City Mayor of Compostela, while the city celebrates the 800th anniversary of the Cathedral and the beginning of the Holy Week. The Archdioceses of Santiago expressed its disappointment because the painting offends the religious sentiments.
A media campaign to raise awareness on HIV uses the Holy Eucharist, a priest, and excerpt from mass to promote the use of condoms. Displaying an image of a priest giving communion, the add employs phrases like “Holy condom you take away the AIDS of the world.” Another phrase used in this add is: “Do not be given communion (Hostia), use a condom”. The word Hostia means communion in Spanish, but hostia can also be used with a pejorative meaning in Spanish.
On a Thursday morning a group of vandals broke into the Church of Santa Maria Magdalena, destroying the altar shrine and the crown of the Virgin. The church suffered great damage, and the content of the collection box was stolen.
A gang of about 20 youth has been rampaging repeatedly around the Nathan-Söderblom church in Reinbek in the spring of 2011, including the urination into a work of art that represents the grave of Christ. Police and social service have not been able to calm down those involved, and are considering to hire a social worker to find a remedy.
“The Pink Wall”, a film by Enrique del Pozo and Julian Lara, depicts the situation of gays during Franco´s era in Spain and presents Christ crucified to a pink wall, made up with eye shadow and lipstick, wrapped in a gay flag around his hips. At the top of the cross the letters “INRI” have been replaced with “LGTB” (lesbian, gay, transsexual and bisexual). The film was presented on April 13th, 2011 in Madrid.
The head of Belgium's Roman Catholic Church, Archbishop Andre-Joseph Leonard, was hit four times by custard pies at the Catholic University of Louvain while people were cheering.
In a broadcasting interview by ELA radio, in Madrid, a group of people who identified themselves as “representatives of different atheist groups”, expressed openly that their goals are to “punish” the Catholic belief, and to “damage” the views of Catholics. They praised the burning of churches in 1936, and they expressed their intention to “welcome” the Pope “as he deserves”, during the announced visit to Madrid in the summer of 2011.
A neighbour organization of Madrid's ambassadors’ district (Barrio de los Embajadores) and surrounding areas called for an “atheist procession”. The procession is scheduled to take place on the night of Holy Thursday departing from Plaza de Lavapies (wash feet square), and it will run parallel to the Way of the Cross, the Christian procession. According to the organizers’ web site – Atheists from Madrid (Ateos de Madrid) - the procession goal is to raise awareness against the "social and moral hypocrisy that conveys the Catholic Holy Week”.
Four young men attacked the church Saint-Pie-X in Vannes, insulting believers and claiming to denounce «fundamentalism». They underlined the «political» nature of their behavior and claimed to defend «anti-clerical values».
A secondary grammar school teacher in Innsbruck regularly mocks and denounces Christian faith in class. The supervisory school authority has now reprimanded him.
A French history teacher was permanently dismissed for showing his students a video on abortion and talking about French abortion law.
Irene Wiens, mother of twelve, served a 43-day jail sentence in Germany for refusing to enroll her children in sex-ed classes, deemed by her husband and herself to teach a permissive view of human sexuality. An appeal to the European Court of Human Rights has been filed.
Apple suppresses diversity of belief by shutting down two Christian iPhone applications claiming that the were “offensive to large groups of people”, and the support of traditional marriage, family, and life “expose[d] a group to harm” and delivered “hate speech”.
Professors and authorities of several Spanish public universities have signed a document supporting the anti-chapel students´ movement. After a violent incident took place at Somosaguas Chapel located on Computense University campus, in Madrid, the professors affirmed in the document that "the presence of chapels and other symbols of religion power has no relation with the freedom of religion but with a Catholic Church privilege; and the time to end such [privileges] has arrived".
Vandals broke into the mission church of Ovcarevo and caused serious damage.
The Commission which intervened in Johns v. Derby City Council argued that Christians who object to homosexual behavior or same-sex relationships should not be allowed to foster children by warning that the court that children placed with Christian parents could become “infected” with Christian beliefs.
Missionaries and evangelists in Turkey are perceived as a real threat to both the integrity of the country and to the Muslim religion. Therefore, evangelism is regarded with suspicion and evangelists are sometimes arrested. Non-Muslim religious communities reported that they are personally being attacked. Attacks against churches and cemeteries take place as well.
Three young men entered the church of Saint-Martin of Conas at approximately 8:00 p.m. They broke a stained window, set fire in the sacristy, broke crosses, statues, benches and chairs and damaged the main altar. The damage which was discovered the next morning, are estimated to a cost of 50 to 100.000 euros.
Individual religious communities in Turkey are restricted in their training of clergy. The Turkish legislation does not provide for private higher religious education for minorities and such opportunities are inexistent in the public education system.
The traditional school break during Easter was renamed: the Education Council of Castilla-La Mancha decided to call the Easter holidays "break between trimesters". A similar proposal was suggested in Barcelona but it did not succeed as the original name was considered to be not only linked to Christianity, but also to the traditions and the history of the region.
The Cataluña National Theatre (TNC) in Barcelona is showing “Gang Band” from March 24th to April 17th 2011, during Lenten time. The plot describes the environment of a gay bar during the Pope’s visit to Barcelona. The play uses quotations from the Bible and the characters mock Christian traditional roles and beliefs. The TNC receives public funds to support culture and arts.
After anti-chapel demonstrations had taken place at Computense University in Madrid and Barcelona University, students of the University of Valencia called to march against chapel service at the Valencia School of Medicine. At the end, the rally did not take place.
The representative of the "Left United", MP Antonio Juan Romero Losana, supported the request made by secularist campaigner Manuel Navarro to remove the crucifix located in the sessions room at the Almeria Parliament. Romero Losana affirmed: "the presence of the cross bothers me". The painting referred to was done by Romero Losada and displays a cross. It is displayed in the local parliament because it constitutes a part of the historic heritage of Almería and has high artistic value.
During the night of March 22th, early morning of March 23th, 2011, a group of radical feminists started a fire at the doors of San Vicenç Church, in the Sarriá neighbourhood, in Barcelona. According to the priest Manuel Valls this was the fifth attack against the church in the last three years.
Non-Muslim religious communities living in Turkey report difficulties opening, maintaining, and operating houses of worship. These groups may not build new churches because of the often arbitrary refusals to issue construction permits for places of worship. The reason behind this discriminatory behaviour is the fact that all unofficial meetings for religious minorities are considered potentially subversive.
More than fifty graves have been vandalized: funeral ornaments, flower pots and crucifix have been broken. Windows were damaged and tagged with the satanic number «666».
The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) had ruled on November 3rd, 2009, that the display of crucifixes in public schools restricted religious freedom. "The compulsory display of a symbol of a given confession in premises used by the public authorities ... restricted the right of parents to educate their children in conformity with their convictions." The judgment was overturned on March 18th, 2011.
An Italian school from Genova, Pertini-Diaz, rejected Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco’s visit. The spokesperson for Pertini-Diaz expressed concerns about the pastoral purpose of the visit, and the security staff that the cardinal would bring along with him. The Pertini-Diaz school would however welcome a non-pastoral visit.
The Ascensión del Señor Church, located in the Madrid suburb of Carabanchel, a working class neighborhood, has suffered the loss of their most precious sacred items, the chalice with the Eucharist and the Holy Oils. The Church, build 60 years ago in a poor vicinity, has no item of value, and "the burglars knew about it", affirms Francisco Pérez, the church Pastor. Fr. Perez adds: "They only took the most precious treasure for our community, the body of Christ".
On March 11, 2011, Paula Nieto, the President of the Students Union at the Complutense University in Madrid, reported incidents at the Moncloa campus law school chapel in a radio interview. According to Nieto, several students locked themselves in the chapel, smoked weed and drank beer, while making statements against the Catholic Church. Nieto argues the attacks come from an ultra-left student group named Contrapoder.
At Universidad Complutense de Madrid (UCM) a group of 50 young people stormed the chapel of the Somosaguas university campus to protest against the Catholic Church.
The way of the Cross of the calvary of Bercianos de Aliste in the diocese of Zamora (Spain) was vandalised. Three ancient granite crosses were highly damaged. Father Lorenzo Martin, parish priest of San Mamed was shocked and filed a complaint.
The windows of a pharmacy in Berlin’s Neukölln district were shattered because the owner does not sell the so called “morning-after-pill” due to his catholic convictions.
Catholic catechism teacher of a Zagreb primary school was accused of homophobia for staying in line with the Catholic Church teachings during catechism classes.
Experienced foster parents lose rights to foster due to religious beliefs on homosexuality. Appeal to High Court lost.
On February 28th, 2011, an unknown number of people broke in the parish house of Tarcin and stole various objects.
A marble grave stone was destroyed and the tomb opened.
Report on Religious Freedom Issues in Serbia: Read here a list of incidents of intolerance against Christians from November 2008 to February 2011.
Media reports that the tabernacle containing the Holy Communion was stolen from San Cristóbal Parish in Moral de Hornuez (Segovia).
Under the headline: “Get bishops out of our law-making”, journalist Mr. Hari hit out at the bishops for voting against measures within the highly controversial Equality Bill and for their stance on end-of-life issues.
Homosexual Polish soccer fans are demanding that a separate seating section be created at the 2012 European Soccer Championship in Poland; they claim that gays and lesbians might otherwise be subjected to harassment and violence. Associated Press Sports Editor, Ms. Terry Taylor, reported about this plea with the following comment: "Homophobia also remains deeply embedded in Poland because of the legacy of communism which treated homosexuality as a taboo and the teachings of the church in the predominantly Roman Catholic country."
On February 23rd, 2011 it was reported that someone had broken into a Christian parish house of Sarajevo and stolen property. A few days later, on February 28th, the same facts occurred in a Christian monastery of Sarajevo.
An unknown number of people broke in the Cathedral of Sarajevo, stole various objects and damaged the interior of the Christian place of worship.
Due to “security reasons”, a glass panel has been set up in order to prevent any worshippers from entering the chapel of the University of Valladolid. The Christian student union “AJIO” met with the president of the university in order to express frustration over such a barrier. Their complaints were not heard, however, as the only answer received from the faculty remains, “God is everywhere. Go away to pray in the field.”
The small church of Briosne-les-Sables was vandalized; the door was broken opened and the altar was damaged. Claude Trouillet, mayor of Briosne-les-Sables and the parish priest Father Jean-Marc have filed a complaint.
Unknown perpetrators have destroyed a statue of the Virgin Mary by pulling it from the altar in a church in Schaan / Liechtenstein.
The Chapel of Caubin, a XIIth century Historical Monument was the target of vandalism on Saturday, February 19th. Three windows were broken open with stones, lanterns and projector destroyed and crosses of the cemetery broken into pieces.
After a fire was set at the doors of Santa Catalina Mártir Church in Majadahonda on December 25th, 2010, the tabernacle containing two communion vessels was stolen in February 2011. The perpetrators used a lever to commit the crime, and took advantage of the fact that the Chuch doors remain open for prayers and meetings.
A Conservative MP has said the House of Commons should stop saying prayers at the start of its proceedings. The contentious proposal could, Jo Johnson MP said, “save three or four minutes every day” and would better reflect the UK.
The Christian General Practitioner (GP) was sacked as a Government drugs adviser because he co-wrote a study linking homosexuality to paedophilia. In June 2011 he announced to take legal action to answer “increasing attempts” to marginalise Christians in public life.
Ten to twelve graves were desecrated in the cimetery of Silhol in Alès. Stone crosses were broken and thrown to the floor. Funeral ornaments were destroyed and the door of a tomb was damaged.
A Christian family of Kakanj suffered repeated verbal attacks and threats. They finally decided to leave their home as the pressure was becoming unbearable.
The lands surrounding the Syrian-orthodox monastery of Mor Gabriel, near Midyat in South-Eastern Turkey, have been expropriated by Turkey’s supreme court. According to the verdict, the treasury of Turkey has a right to claim the lands.
At the University of Barcelona protests by a group of secular students against the Catholic liturgical service on campus, including the interruption of the service, led to a cancelation of the weekly Wednesday Mass - until the University would be able to guarantee the safety of attending students.
EU Foreign Ministers rejected a draft resolution condemning the atrocities against Christian minorities in Egypt and Iraq, as they could not agree on the word ‘Christian’ in their draft statement in an effort to remain "politically correct."
A Catholic religion teacher was forced to remove a cross and an icon from a wall of a shared office in a secondary school in Zújar, Spain because two teachers said they were "offended" by them.
Mr. Günther Annen demonstrated in front of the abortion clinic of Dr. Karl-Heinz Jordan twice in August 2010, displaying a sign which said: „Why does Dr. Karl-Heinz Jordan kill unborn children?“ He was sentenced for insult to a penalty of 1500 € by the Darnstadt public prosecutor's office on Jan. 25, 2011.
The European Parliament has issued a condemnation of a Lithuanian bill that seeks to prohibit the “public promotion of homosexual relations.” The bill proposes fines of between €580 and €2,900; it has not yet been passed by the Plenary of the Lithuanian Parliament and is still under review.
On January 17th, 2011, the church of Blagan-Buna (Mostar) was attacked with stones and its windows crashed.
A Christian Church building in Hérouville-Saint-Clair, the outskirts of Caen, was vandalized at about 6 am on a Sunday morning. The Church of St. Francis, partially burned, cannot not accommodate the faithful until rebuild.
A group of teenagers was causing great damage in the parish church of St. Barbara in Peißenberg over a longer period of time. They tossed down lamps, lit numerous candles and burnt death cards, rumpled altar cloths and stuffed them into the holy water vessel; they threw altar candles around in the church, and wrote with chalk on the church’s door. The sacristan had to dump 40 liters of holy water twice, and clean the distribution vessel, in which the youth had urinated.
A satirical cartoon depicting Pope Benedict XVI was shown in Italy’s public television RAI2. In the cartoon, the Pope says about Silvio Berlusconi since he “likes minors, he can always become a priest”. This caused quite an uproar as it was considered as defamatory.
Christian Copts in Europe, particularly in France, Germany, the Netherlands, and Italy, celebrated Christmas on January 6th under special police protection.
On Saturday January 1st between 12 a.m. and 3 p.m. the church of Montfermeil was severely damaged and partially burned. According to sources, a group of individuals forced and broke the door to the place of worship with the help of a car. They then set fire to a bunch of paper that was inside the church. Thus, three additional rooms, including the room used for worship of children, were damaged and must now be rebuilt.
The parish church Sainte Claire of Aiguefonde (Tarn) was victim of series of vandalism attacks. Given the amount of the damage, the church will have to be completely restored in order to prevent the window and vault from collapsing.
The Council of the European Union proposed a visa liberalisation action plan for Moldova without much room for negotiations about the conditions: in a unilateral document, it was required to accept policies which would potentially infringe on the freedom of conscience or expression as well as that of religious institutions and organisations.
Faithful of the parish St John in Avignon are being annoyed, often during the mass service, by insults and agressions, thefts, attempts of arson, and even a car bomb left by Muslim youth. The little community of Christians in a city which hosts an arabic-moslem majority begins to feel afraid of praying together. The parish priest understands that there is a "startling code of silence both for media and politics about the issue".
An increasing wave of violence is experienced by students, faculty and staff who are used to attend mass at the University of Barcelona (UB). The media reported extensively a graffiti found in the university restrooms: "Christians are like rats. Shoot accurately". The students affirmed that messages were left also in their writing desks.
Dr Boyle runs a fertility treatment service along Catholic guidelines at Galway clinic, which is a Catholic hospital. He was summoned before the Fitness to Practice Committee of the Medical Council in 2010 because he would not accept a cohabiting couple for treatment because of his belief on traditional marriage.
The City Hall of Barcelona approved a monument to honor the gay, transsexual and lesbian lifestyle in front of Sagrada Familia, the Barcelona Basilica. The proximity of location as well as the political message in relation to the dedication of the Basilica is troubling to Christians.
Cayo Lara, the General Coordinator of the IU (United Left wing) told media that machismo and gender violence are strongly related to religious education. Lara also referred to the Catholic wedding vows in which partners should be united "until death", as proving "without any need of further discussion" that the Church is in favor of the discrimination of women and treats women as "the property of men."
Police officers of the Turkish-Cypriot government entered a Greek-Orthodox Church in Rizokarpaso on December 25th 2010 and forced the priest to stop the Christmas morning liturgy. They coerced the priest and worshippers attending liturgy to leave the church and then locked its doors.
Manuel Ángel Rodríguez, City Hall representative of Oviedo, proposed the removal of nativities from any public building, specially schools. In 2009, Juan de Padilla school, in Toledo, suppressed every religious reference to Christmas but «Halloween», a foreign celebration to Spanish tradition, was welcomed. Nativity scenes and Christmas carols were replaced in the Toledo school, while decorated trees and the pagan character of Noel were permitted after two parents had complained about the religious connotation of the shepherds and the angels seen in the traditional manger.
The European Commission produced more than three million copies of an EU diary for secondary schools containing no reference to Christian festivals, but including those of Jewish, Hindu, Sikh and Muslim religions.
Peaceful protest of Catholic Youth pro-life Group "Jugend für das Leben“ violently attacked by pro-choice forces. Member hospitalised with concussion.
At a meeting on Freedom of Religion of OSCE/ODIHR in Vienna on Dec 9 and 10, the spokesperson of Wüstenstrom, a Christian NGO representing people with unwanted same-sex attractions, summarized a series of intolerance and attacks against them and their work. Find here the full text of his intervention.
A man destroyed much of the furniture of the Church of Gourin, probably on Sunday, December 5th in the afternoon. Benches, the harmonium, flower pots but also the altar, the tabernacle and stain glass windows were the targets.
Christian Mental Health worker suspended after talking to colleague informally about abortion risks and told „never to do this again“ and reinstated only several weeks later.
Radical groups forced the Archdiocese of Madrid to cancel a speech of Cardinal Antonio Maria Rouco Varela scheduled to be held at the Autonomous University of Madrid.
In Great Britain many converts from Islam to Christianity are forced to worship in secret at the risk of their own lives according to the report of the French Internet Portal “Observatoire de l’islamisation” which resulted in a report broadcasted 2010 on British TV.
A conservative party councillor in Bristol has been “voluntarily suspended” and asked by the party to meet with homosexualist activists after he objected to appearances by a homosexualist campaigner and actor, Sir Ian McKellen, at local schools.
Government funded atheist forum at the occasion of the Pope's visit to Barcelona concludes that "there was an increase of conflicts with a religious background, religious leaders used faith to subjugate the world, religious hierarchy attacked democracy, and religion restricted the exercise of freedom of conscience."
A small group of parents of Santo Angel School reported the School’s Catholic Center to the Ministry of Education of Murcia for "radical ideas” for organizing an optional weekly praying hour.
A Catholic national school found guilty of ''discrimination'' by Equality Tribunal and fined more than €12,000 for not hiring a Protestant teacher.
The lower Austrian main building of government (NÖ-Landhaus) hosts an exhibition which displays Mary, the mother of Jesus, covered in a condom and sperma. This exhibition is funded by public money and approved by governor Erwin Pröll.
An atheist father obtains the withdrawal of a crucifix in his son’s classroom in Regensburg (Bavaria, Germany) despite the opposition of the majority of parents. Morning prayer was changed to a neutral “Good Morning Circle”.
In a session the Government, the spokeswoman of Esquerra Republicana, Joan Ridao, has called the Catholic Church in Spain to be "a kind of sustained, a luxury tick" (“mantenida y garrapata”).
The Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Equality, the Generalitat of Catalonia, Barcelona City Council and La Caixa funded the Forum Libertat 2010 on the same days on which the historic visit of Pope Benedict XVI to Santiago and Barcelona took place. The Forum advocated the withdrawal of the public presence of the Catholic Church.
The parents of two students of the public school Ortega y Gasset in Almendralejo (Badajoz) succeeded in their campaign to remove crucifixes from classrooms and prohibit religious ceremonies. The school parent association, who opposes these decisions, called for a protest.
Saint-John’s parish near Avignon has been the target of a number of threats and intimidations: insulting tags in the church’s walls, feces thrown on the church, a young man even entered the church during mass, urinated and screamed to the parishioners: “we’ll toast you all in fire, you and your church”. A fire was also started in a tree growing against the church, probably in order to burn the church itself. Father Gabriel, the parish priest, regrets and condemns “an increasingly aggressive and violent climate”.
A group of male gay rights activists attacked members of the Orthodox youth movement "Georgievtsy!" outside the Council of Europe office in Moscow, who gathered against the European Court of Human Rights ruling declaring Russia's ban on gay pride marches illegal.
Msgr. Leonard faces accusations of homophobia for expressing controversial positions on the causes of HIV/AIDS.