On the 20. September, a large-scale study was published by the Faith and Media Initiative (FAMI), which looks at the portrayal of faith and religion in the media. The study revealed there is a strong demand across the world for more news and media coverage about faith. It also shows that journalists and editors admit coverage of faith-related topics is rarely encouraged in the industry. The study had 9,000 respondents, including citizens, journalists, and editors from 18 countries and major religions. An important finding was that the general population feels that "media coverage can perpetuate faith-related stereotypes rather than protect against them."
A 45-year-old man, was arrested in Chisinau, Moldova, at the end of September for stealing two bronze crosses, as well as a large bust of the deceased, from a tomb in the Saint Lazarus cemetery. He intended to resell them for 40,000 Moldavian lei (around 2,000€) and caused a damage of 8,000 lei on the burial site (400€). In Moldova the desecration of graves is an aggravating cause - he faces up to three years of prison.
The diocese of Jaén reported that on the 19. September, a robbery and a desecration took place in the parish church of Our Lady of Carmen. The perpetrators stole money from the lampstand and broke into the tabernacle. The consecrated hosts were scattered on the floor, which is what struck the community the most. The Bishop of Jaén, Monsignor Sebastián Chico Martínez, condemned the incident and asked all the parishes to worship a prayer of atonement during that week.
On September 18, the Sokolsk police received a report of damage to a shrine in Porajovo. The window of the shrine and the facade of the building were destroyed.
On September 18th, around 15:30 firefighters intervened after they received a report of flames escaping from the chapel of Our Lady of Liesse in Fleury d'Aude, where several fires were lit. Additionally, the church was vandalised with swastikas that were drawn onto the altar. The gendarmerie are still investigating to find the perpetrators.
On September 17, 2022, a mass at the Sacred Heart Church in Brig, Switzerland was disrupted by two pro-abortion activists. It was the day before the March for Life in Switzerland, and the sermon of the priest Fr. Edi Arnold was about the protection of life.
Satanist tags have been painted on the walls of the Church of the Sacred Heart in Zurich on September 17. On the same day, Bishop Marian Eleganti, former auxiliary bishop of the diocese of Chur, celebrated a mass there as part of the "March for Life", organized on the same day. The act was claimed by the anarchist group barrikade.info, to protest against the "March for Life".
A Scottish politician, John Mason, has been disciplined by party leaders at Holyrood after he showed support for pro-life activism outside hospitals. He was sent a written warning and was accused of causing women “great distress” for his remarks on abortion and buffer zones outside clinics. The news was reported recently on the 15. September.
Nicola Sturgeon, the First Minister of Scotland, has pronounced in favor of the legislation meant to limit pro-life activity around abortion clinics, which could lead to the creation of abortion clinic "buffer zones" across Scotland. The First Minister suggested that pro-life groups could protest in front of the Scottish parliament instead of gathering outside abortion clinics. A legal counsel for ADF UK, Mr. Igunnubole, warns that such laws do not possess a "reasonable excuse" to ignore basic tenets of the rule of law, such as Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Assembly.
On September 14, a man tried to set fire to a pile of chairs in the church of Rothéneuf near Saint Malo in Ille-et-Vilaine, without success. He was arrested the next day after threatening a bank teller in Paramé, a district of Saint Malo located near the train station.
On September 13, 2022, local Polish media reported on the devastation of chapel furnishings in Łabiszynek. The unknown perpetrator destroyed the door and broke the glass in the windows of the chapel, broke wooden elements necessary for the service and tore off the heads of the figures of saints.
The Virgen de la Hiniesta, from the parish of San Julian, in Sevilla, suffered an attack on the weekend of the 10th of September. The statue was sprayed with bleach, causing significant damage to the garment. This was reported by the Brotherhood of the Vera Cruz and Charity of Brenes, responsible for the parish, on their social media.
As reported to "La Voz de Tomelloso" local newspaper by one of the assistants, the Sunday 9th of September an altercation took place during the celebration of the morning Mass in the parish of La Asunción de Tomelloso. An individual burst into the church and, going to the altar, threw the chalice, the ciborium and the consecrated forms to the ground after shaking the celebrant.
On September 8, the crown of the statue of Our Lady of the Assumption was stolen in broad daylight from the co-cathedral of Cassino, in Lazio, which is the only church in the city that remains open apart from Mass celebration. Previously, two fine altar cloths were stolen from the same church.
On September 6, a young man was arrested by the St. Petersburg police after he tried to enter into the church of the Venerable John of Kronstadt and threaten the parishioners and the priest with a cane. Both times, the parishioners threw him out before finally calling the police. To the police, the criminal declared himself a "Satanist" and claimed that "the Devil ordered him to kill a priest". He was arrested and later hospitalized.
In the city of Leeds, members of society raised concerns, claiming that street preachers in the city center are using hate speech and homophobic language. The local council, together with the Police have now issued a new "code of conduct", in which they tell preachers that they respect their freedom of expression, but also recognise that it may be limited to "prevent disorder or crime".
Rev Dr. Bernard Randall is a Christian chaplain who was reported to a terrorist watchdog by the school he worked at, after giving a sermon addressing the new LGBT Guidelines and telling his pupils it was ok to make up their own minds, as long as they remain respectful towards other's opinions. He is now facing a high-profile Employment Tribunal hearing and has even been blacklisted as a safeguarding risk to children by the Church of England (CofE). Dr. Randall says he was interrogated and told that refusing to capitulate to the allegation and denying his beliefs made him a risk. The diocese safeguarding team concluded ‘the Church itself is a risk factor.’
During the night of 4. September, the statue of the Virgin Mary in the village of Pailharès was vandalised. The statue was covered with paint and with, among other things, lipstick and underwear around her neck. The village is located between Annonay and Saint-Agreve in the north of the Ardèche. Mgr. Jean-Louis Balsa, bishop of the diocese of Viviers, wants to put the church back in the heart of the village: "It is inadmissible, we must accept the beliefs of all. It is a fundamental lack of respect for the faithful. He refuses that the Church suffers from acts of delinquency of this kind and drives the point home: "We should not be despised for our beliefs and victims of fools, we deserve to be respected in our faith."
During the night of 4-5. September, individuals let themselves be locked into the church of Saint Martin de l'Aigle in the Orne region of France, where they broke a stained glass window, unsealed and stole a money box and ripped out the locks of the building from the inside. "A pair of pliers was found on the roof. The thieves also damaged the doors "including the lock on the main door which was ripped off with a crowbar" and another door which was taken off its hinges. This was done from the inside as there is no lock on the outside. A complaint has been filed.
On September 1, local Polish media reported on the destruction of a roadside cross in Kamionek (in the Gogolin Municipality). Unknown perpetrators tore out the marble flower tray placed on the vertical beam of the cross and smashed the candles standing under the cross.
The priest of the Saint Saturnin Parish in Blois told 'La Tribune de l'Art' that he had been attacked by drug dealers in late August. He said: "At the end of August, I was beaten up by six junkies in the baptistery, and the mayor doesn't care."
An 18-year-old girl mimed a sexual act on a grave in a cemetery in Samara, topped by a cross, on 25 August. Before committing the desecration, the girl began by "talking to the dead" and then insulted the Orthodox religion, announcing that she would "commit an act that the Orthodox Church will not forgive her". The video was posted on social networks where her identity was quickly disclosed. The Samara police announced that they were opening an investigation into the incident.
On July 23, trunk robbers ransacked the church of Ceglia, breaking into the trunks and the door of the sacristy, but the also desecrated the tabernacle where they spilled the consecrated hosts on the floor. Nevertheless, the thieves abandoned the sacred vessels when they realized that they were made of brass. A mass and prayers of reparation were organized.
The liturgical organ of the church of Saint Jean Baptiste in Omonville la Rogue, near the Hague, was dismantled and stolen between 23 and 28 July, along with the sound system - in fact it is a kind of harmonium. The theft is said to have been committed during the church's opening hours. The municipality has filed a complaint.
In the village of Trebište in western North Macedonia unknown persons attempted on 22. August to set fire to the Church of St. Achilles of Larissa, built around 1840 and decorated with frescoes by Dičo Zograf (1819-1872), one of the most famous fresco painters in the Balkans in the 19th century. Damage was caused by the outbreak the fire inside the church, but it was brought under control.
The parishioners of a Romanian Orthodox Church found the door locked with chains and a padlock on Sunday 21. August. Unknown vandals" had wrapped a chain around the iron knobs of the front door of the St. Roque's church in Valletta, they also locked the chain with a padlock. The president of the community, Fr George-Alexandru Popescu, told the newspaper that he contacted the people of the parish to see if someone had locked the doors in this way, but found out that it was an act of vandalism. Another incident had already happened in November of last year, when vandals poured gasoline on the parvis.
Unknown persons stole the altar and a painting from the Chapel of the Church Santa Maria dell'Orazione in Pontelatone. This was announced by the Mayor of Pontelatone, Alfonso Izzo, who recalled how the small local community continues to be the victim of thefts to the detriment of its numerous archaeological and architectural assets. The altar is a specifically sacred object that is necessary to carry out religious services. The practices of the parish is limited due to this theft.
A 53-year-old man from Toulouse, damaged a church and insulted the priest on Sunday 21 August. He will be judged on a preliminary admission of guilt in 2023. "He obviously did not like the church," tells France Bleu. The man admitted in police custody to have broken a wooden table in two, a vase and knocked over a candle holder in which a candle was lit, fortunately without starting a fire. The damage was estimated to cost around 1,000 euros. The man is also accused of insulting the priest. Two people present called the police who quickly arrested him.
On 21. August, "Grimsby Live" reported that the Willows Community Church in Grimsby had been tagged with slogans about sex and drugs that affected the community. Organizers of the Church repainted the walls within hours after the desecration took place. And the news outlet chose not to publish the pictures of the vandalistic act, due to the nature of the slogans. The police was notified and they will run an investigation.
During the night of August 19 to 20, one or more people broke into the church of Saint-Etienne in Bayonne. "Furniture was damaged and objects belonging to the place of worship were stolen. Various elements are missing: a trunk containing cash donations, or a silver container," recalls Sud Ouest. Above all, the 19th century organ has been damaged, and the repairs could cost several thousand euros.
On 19 August, the little church of Our Lady of Sorrows in Paderno d'Adda fell once again victim to an act of vandalism. Vandals unhinged the wooden gate and broke the padlock. It is the third time within a few months that a similar crime has occurred.
An unknown perpetrator stole an oil painting from the small church of San Filippo Neri in Terzago di Calvagese della Riviera on 19. August. The painting, which depicts the Virgin Mary, is estimated to be worth 50,000 euros. The police are investigating.
According to the police, in the night of 19 to 20 in Aub, an unknown perpetrator tore the railing of the church from the anchorage and loosened several stone slabs from the stairs.
Sacred objects had been stolen during the first week of August from the church of San Rocco in Maggianico and the church of San Martino Vescovo in Calolzio. The police of Lecco were able to identify the perpetrators, who were two men, and recovered what had been stolen: a wooden offering box, three metal offertories, a base of a crucifix, a wooden crucifix, and brass plating of the crucifix itself. Although the objects were found, there is damage to the crucifix.
A statue of Mary had been stolen from the Lady Chapel in Beckum and was found on the 18th of August. Employees of the Wocklum quarry found the figure, which was badly damaged, in the conveyor system that is used to feed the stones to the sand production. It was a great coincidence that the statue could be rescued, according to the police press officer Wibke Honselmann. "It was supposed to be destroyed in the Wocklum quarry, but the corpus blocked the plant," Honselmann said. Before the unknown perpetrators threw the statue into the pit, the head, hands and feet had been cut off. Police are investigating
In the city of Creußen, the recently renovated wall of the St. Jakobus Church was soiled and graffitied. The incident took place on the 12. August and was reported on the 16. August and the police are now looking for witnesses. According to the police, the inner wall of the crypt passage was defiled. The unknown perpetrators were possibly youths who threw moistened earth at the white inner wall. The damage to the property is estimated at around 200 euros due to the time-consuming removal of the graffiti and the re-painting.
Teenager vandals entered the Church in Pionca di Vigonza with their bikes and set fire to a Crucifix on the 18. August. One parishioner noticed the smoke coming out of the Church. The Carabinieri has identified two young boys, who committed the arson by placing candles under a Crucifix inside the church. Fortunately, the flames were extinguished within minutes. The police is still investigating to identify other perpetrators.
An unknown perpetrator has vandalised several churches in Basel, as it was reported on the 17. August. Two of the churches that were vandalised were the St. Joseph Church and the Holy Spirit Church. In the St. Joseph Church, there was a message saying "Jesus Christ, Allahu Akbar" in white paint. The Holy Spirit church was severely damaged, as there were numbers and letters scratched into the sandstone and other inscriptions were made with black and red pen. In total there were 5 churches vandalized.
On the night of August 17-18, 2022, unknown perpetrators committed an act of vandalism at the municipal cemetery of Lwówek Slaski. Crosses were broken, pots and flowers scattered. Among others, the grave of a small child was damaged, while a cross on a neighboring tombstone was turned over.
Residents of Worcester, England, are protesting against the gangs of young offenders who occupy the churchyard around St. John's Church and engage in various forms of depredation, graffiti, attempted arson, defacement, robbery, etc.
On the 16. August, the tabernacle of the parish of Santa María Reparadora in Santander was desecrated. The perpetrators stole the ciborium with the consecrated hosts that were reserved inside, as well as the virile of a monstrance. The Diocese of Santander and the National Police confirmed that a group of unidentified individuals desecrated the temple. It seems that at least one parishioner witnessed the incident, seeing how two persons went to the tabernacle, opened it, and took the sacred objects. Fr Antonio Arribas, media delegate of the Diocese, told ACI Prensa that the incident has been reported to the Police.
On the 16th of August graffiti was discovered on the Romanesque church of the uninhabited village of Plampalacios. The Aínsa-Sobrarbe Town Council reported the case of vandalism. The incident was discovered by the boss of a flight firm that is in the vicinity, Rafael García. Some neighbours reported seeing a group of people coming with a vehicle in the evening of Tuesday. The church had no graffiti before that day.
It has been reported that on the night of 16 to 17 August, individuals entered the church of Notre-Dame de l'Assomption in Cause-de-Clérans to steal the statue of St Michael. They came to the church on foot, taking care to park their vehicle close by so as not to wake the inhabitants of the town. On the way they lost the sword of St Michael and pieces of the plaster of the statue.
On 15. August, the sacred St Nicholas' relic has been stolen from the Mother Church in Castellammare del Golfo, near Trapani. Also missing is the crucifix that was placed in the hands of the statue itself, the cross of the tabernacle was broken and the Synod lamp moved.
On August 15, the Virgin of the cemetery of Guignicourt-sur-Vence was stolen. The statue of Our Lady of Lourdes, which was placed in a niche in 1949, was taken away. The town hall does not despair of finding another one to replace it, according to the local press.
On 15 August, an 80 cm high, heavy plaster statue of Saint Theresa dating from the 1930s was stolen from the church in Cernay-les-Reims, east of Reims. The theft was reported in the evening.
Three armed and masked individuals robbed the presbytery of a church in Gironde during a baptism ceremony on the 14. August. The perpetrators stole a chest that contained the money of a week's collections. As one of the priests found the robbers, one of them pointed his handgun at him while the others fled. The police were immediately alarmed, but they did not manage to arrest the criminals. The amount of damage is around 2000 Euros and the police has opened an investigation.
The Church of Buissenal was vandalized on the night of 13. to 14. August by unknown perpetrators. The vandals broke into the building by destroying stained glass windows and left a message on the main altar with the word "EVIL". They also defaced two grave markers in the cemetery.
The doors and several sections of the façade of the Saint-Patrice church in Rouen were tagged with insulting slogans and militant symbols on the night of Saturday 13. August. The Diocese released a statement expressing the sadness due to the desecration and announced that the parish has filed a complaint with the police for damage to property. The tags were removed from the historic Church on the 16. August.
In Waging am See, 25 boxes full of stolen sacred objects have been found. This was reported on the 13. of August. The Bavarian State Criminal Police Office (LKA) is currently investigating the stolen goods. It seems that the stolen objects are from the Waging church on the Mühlberg and other churches as well. Ludwig Waldinger, press representative for the LKA commented: "Where did the things come from?" Due to the large number of objects found there, "the whole thing is taking longer than initially thought". A couple of days before it became known that sacred objects were missing from the church in Waching on the Mühlberg. The items were chalices, votive tablets and chasubles.
On the morning of August 13, the Glodeni police received a call about an act of vandalism in the town's church. Police officers arrived on the scene found that unknown persons had vandalised the building of the chapel property of a church near the old cemetery. According to preliminary information, an icon and a cross with the image of Jesus Christ were damaged.
On the night of August 13-14, 2022, unknown perpetrators vandalised the shrine of Our Lady of Fatima, located on the grounds of the parish of Christ the King in Jablonowo Pomorskie. The vandal coated the transparent casing of the statue of Our Lady with heated wax and smashed the candles standing in front of the shrine.
Tags in English were made during the night of 13 to 14 August on the church of Saint Maurice in Lille. Local media has also expressed indignation with the town hall's silence: "A defaced religious building is always a shock for the religious community attacked. The elected officials of the towns concerned are used to reacting. But for some time now, and particularly in town halls held by left-wing politicians, double standards have been commonplace. A mosque is tagged and the support is immediate. Not so for Catholics.
For two weeks, the walls of Poitiers centre had been regularly attacked by tags, reported Centre Presse on Saturday 13 August. One of those defacements was also found on the Saint-Pierre cathedral. A phenomenon that annoys many inhabitants, who do not hesitate to express themselves on the issue via social networks or in the street.
Shock at the Catholic Church of St. Lambertus in the Karlsruhe district: thieves stole a safe and valuable sacred objects on 12. August. The priest's personal chalice was also stolen. Estimated amount of damage: 200,000 euros. The theft is specifically tragic because the stolen objects are sacred and necessary to hold religious services. Police are investigating.
Unknown persons have repeatedly damaged church windows in Bargebur. Already the previous week, a stone was thrown into a window of the church. This time another eight windows were smashed. Police are investigating.
Located right on the Italian border, above the lake of Bresses in the Mercantour, the 80 cm high statue of the Virgin installed by the Italians has disappeared or was stolen in early August, reported a hiker on Facebook.
Germany rejected the asylum application made in 2018 by Hassan, a 44-year-old Iranian who converted to Christianity in Iran and was prosecuted for the same reason. When he testified before the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees in Germany, he disclosed that he learned about Christianity in Iran through his brother-in-law, who had been imprisoned for his activities and was then killed for practicing his faith in jail. During the second week of August, the European Court of Human Rights refused to listen to Hassan's case, meaning now he faces the threat of being deported to his home country, where he will likely face imprisonment or death.
The columns and the flower boxes of the Church of San Benedetto in Livorno have been spray-painted with red tags. Some of the inscriptions that defaced the Church said "No Nazi" and "1312". It is presumed that it is the same vandals that have vandalized a statue of Canapone in the Piazza XX Settembre. A concierge hopes that the security cameras might help identify the perpetrator.
On 11. August the church of Sant'Antonio Abate was vandalised by unknown perpetrators. They sprayed writings on the walls of the church and excrements were also left on the ground. According to an investigation by the Carabinieri of the local station, the mirrors of some nearby parked cars were also damaged. There are currently no video surveillance cameras in the area.
Vandals were on the loose in the district of Neukirchen last week. Unknown perpetrators damaged a round-arched window of the church on Bruchstraße on 15. August.
For the third time on the year, the village church of Saint Gregory the Great in Morville has been the target of theft and vandalism. This time, the thieves stole a plaque commemorating a war hero, Thomas Hoblyn-Robins (from WWI). This happened on the 9. of August. On the same day two brass candlesticks, one brass vase and two brass candleholders were stolen. The police are asking for witness information.
A 45-year-old man injured his hand while attempting to break into a tabernacle in the church of San Lazzaro in Bologna. The man was identified by the carabinieri thanks to surveillance cameras. On the 8 August, the man tried to open one of the tabernacles of the church of San Lazzaro, but in doing so he injured himself and decided to give up. Returning home, he called the 118 emergency services to get medical attention. After finding the damaged tabernacle, the priest checked the images taken by the church's security cameras.
On the 8th of August, the Municipality of Les Borges del Camp posted on Twitter photos and a video of the vandalistic attack on the church during the night. Unknown perpetrators threw pink paint bombs at the church's walls and wooden door.
The historian Dick Harrison recently wrote a review of a book called "The First Right: Freedom of Religion. Freedom from Religion", written by the deputy secretary general of the Swedish Evangelical Alliance, Jacob Rudenstrand. The historian commented that the book was worth reading and pointed out that the current persecution of Christians "hardly gets any media attention."
On Sunday 7. August, tthe police in Murcia arrested two men after they attacked the church of San Bartolomé during the celebration of Mass. The perpetrators, aged 24 and 27, who are originally from Estonia, entered the church shouting and obscene gestures. The parish priest and several parishioners tried to intervene and stop them before they gained access to the tabernacle. The parishioners told the police officers the details of the incident and regretted the lack of respect by these individuals for their faith and the violation of their freedom of worship. The perpetrators have been handed over to the Examining Magistrate's Court on duty.
Between the 6. and 9. August, unknown perpetrators smashed the window panes of an Evangelical church in Beinum, Salzgitter, by using stones. The police issued a press release about the incident and are investigating. The damage is estimated at around 10 000 Euro.
On the night of August 5-6, 2022, an unknown perpetrator profaned the statue of Our Lady of Medjugorie located in the park near St. Joseph Church in Stargard. The vandal damaged the windows and stole the holy rosary held in the hands of the statue of Our Lady.
The town hall of Picauville has taken the decision on the 5th of August that churches will remain closed, due to the high amount of vandalism. Claudine Marie, the second deputy major, commented about recent incidents: "Damage took place on Wednesday 3 or Thursday 4 August. In particular in the church of Amfreville, where the trunk was torn off to take the little money that was inside. This caused some additional damage to the wall where it was hung." Masses and other religious celebrations will still take place.
Unknown perpetrators vandalized the Catholic Church of the Good Hirte, using a marker pen to write words and sayings on the pillars and walls inside the church. They further desecrated a Bible, which was open for reading, and a fresco in a side niche. Pastor Gerd Möller said that "the fresco, in particular, will not be easy to restore". According to the Pastor, the attack took place during the morning on August 4 and the damage caused amounts to 10,000 euros. He further added that "the immaterial damage cannot be estimated. A church is a place of encounter with God and prayer. These places are of inestimable value for people who practice their religion". The parish filed a criminal complaint with the police who launched an investigation to find the perpetrators.
Between the early afternoon of August 4 and the morning of the 5th, unknown people broke into a church located in the west of Leipzig. They entered through a window and searched several rooms inside the building. The door of one of the offices was forced open and the room was looted. There is not yet any available information regarding the stolen items and the damage caused. The case was reported to the police who launched an investigation, deeming this a case of aggravated theft.
For no apparent reason three trees in front of the church in Sümmern have been cut off. The cut off trees were lying on the ground, so the reason for the cutting was clearly not theft. The police are investigating.
On the 3rd of August, it was reported that unknown thieves stole part of the floor tiles from the church of the Holy Spirit in piazza Cirillo in Aversa. The thieves took parts of the floor but left their tools behind. The authorities believe it is unlikely that the criminals wanted to return, as the church is closed to the public and deconsecrated. The carabinieri is investigating with use of security cameras.
It was reported on the 3rd of August that the church of San Giovannello is being constantly vandalised and spray painted by unknown persons. According to the newspaper, they receive daily complaints and pictures of the church being daubed on every corner by vandals, including the surroundings. The newspaper suggests installing a video surveillance system.
German Police are investigating an attempted break-in at the Reconciliation Church in the Bännjerrück district of Kaiserslautern. The event took place on the 3rd of August, as the perpetrators tried to gain access to the church, but did not succeed. Nevertheless, the burglars caused damage estimated to be at least 200 euros.
The Canadian police released the hate crime data for 2021 on the 3rd of August, showing an alarming rise in anti-religious hate crimes: from 530 cases in 2020 to 884 in 2021. Anti-Catholic hate crimes rose 260%: while there were 43 cases in 2020, it rose to 155 in 2021. Catholics were the second most target group after Jews. Main News Broadcasters reported on these worrying numbers, but although Anti-Catholic motives were the second most targeted religious group and showed the highest rise among all categories, the media only used examples from other groups.
In Wörth am Main during the first week of August, unknown persons defaced the entrance area of St. Nicholas Church with graffiti. The police have been notified and are asking for information. It seems that the crime was committed between 3 and 4 August. The perpetrators defaced the stone staircase of the main portal with paint. The damage to the property is estimated at around 500 euros.
The Russian government has been pressuring religious leaders to support Putin's invasion of Ukraine, using tactics such as warning, prosecuting, and fining the believers and leaders who publicly voiced that they oppose the war. From the beginning of the Russian invasion, between February 24 and the 20th of July, 16,380 people were detained for speaking out against the war in public protests, in publications on the internet, and in other demonstrations of protest. Between March 5 and July 14, there were 3,303 cases opened under the new Administrative Code Article 20.3.3, which criminalizes "Public actions aimed at discrediting the use of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation", and is used to punish any form of "anti-war statements either in public spaces or online".
On the 2nd of August afternoon, unknown perpetrator(s) vandalised a church in the Zähringerstraße. The individuals damaged flyers and a praise book with fire, they threw over altar candles and stands and damaged a holy figure. Also, an unknown number of candles were stolen. The police has taken over the investigation of the damage to property and asks for information from witnesses.
Steps leading to a secondary exit of the church in Aumetz in Moselle were vandalised - the edge was broken. The vandalic act most probably took place on 2. August. The town hall has filed a complaint.
Thieves looted the church of St. Mary's Assumption in Appelhülsen on the 1st of August. They stole three gold-plated metal candle coasters, a copper bird figurine screwed onto the baptismal font, various votive offerings crosses and a metal rod, which was in the hand of a statue of Our Lady. The police in Dülmen are asking for information.
In the city of Zeitz in front of the church, the memorial plaque for the pastor Oskar Brüsewitz was stolen. The theft was discovered on the 1st of August. The plaque was still attached to the pillar until the 27th of July. According to a witness, a man was seen trying to remove the plaque on the 27th of July in the evening. The witness says the man was disturbed when he was approached. A police investigation is ongoing.
On the 31 of July, the cemetery in Piekary Slaskie was desecrated by unknown perpetrators. 42 gravestones have been destroyed, the tombstones and crosses were knocked over, and flowers and some crosses were set on fire, according to Łukasz Czepkowski, spokesman for the Baker police. The police are investigating and trying to identify the perpetrators
The Saint-Roch de Kergroix chapel, in the commune of Quistinic in Morbihan, was vandalised on the weekend of 31 July. The two doors of the building were broken into, but no theft was reported in the building. The commune filed a complaint. On the following 2 August, several fires of criminal origin destroyed a hedge in the village of Kerquéré - the mayor recalled the vandalism of the chapel in the local press, where he announced that he would file a complaint following the fire.
On July 30, a woman at St. Joseph's Church in Maków Mazowiecki noticed that a man, most likely under the influence of alcohol, entered the sanctuary. He headed for the side aisle, where there were paintings used in processions, and deliberately kicked them. Under the impact, the paintings fell over. Two of them have damaged frames. The woman tried to stop him, but to no avail; the man left the scene before police officers arrived.
Relics and a medieval statue probably dating from the 13th century were stolen from the church of Saint-Médard and Saint-Gildard in Crépon in the Manche region in July. On their website, the Friends of the Crépon church give details: "During the month of July 2022, the Crépon church was the target of several thefts perpetrated without breaking and entering and probably in broad daylight. The first targeted relics contained in four reliquaries displayed on secondary altars in the nave and the second a remarkable sculpture, discovered in 2019 during work carried out in the nave of the church, and which was kept in the sacristy, a room which is usually locked." Relics are sacred objects.
On the 29. July, the wall of the Church of our Lady in Zurich was found with inscriptions in red paint saying: "Burn in Hell", "Strike Fundamentalists on the Mouth" and an anarchist symbol, along with paint dripped over the staircase. For the time being, the parish staff is not allowed to clean up the graffiti, while the crime is being investigated by the police. The shocked priest said he had never experienced anything like this.
During a press conference on the 28. July, the "International Gesellschaft für Menschenrechte (IGFM)" reported on the indifference and even bias present in the BAMF (the Migration Office in Germany) in regard to the fate of Iranian Christian converts, who face persecution or even death if deported to Iran. Pastor Dr. Gottfried Martens, an expert on legal practice and deportation procedures recalls how representatives would make fun of the statements of Christian Iranians, he stated that court hearings were "pure gambling". Many Iranian converts shared their hardships and disappointing experiences with the german authorities.
On 28. July, the Norman councillor discovered that the liturgical organ and the sound equipment of the church of Saint-Jean-Baptiste were stolen in Omonville la Rogue. A complaint was filed with the Police.
A new report by the European Centre for Law and Justice (ECLJ) reveals the persecution that European Muslims who convert to Christianity face. It also sheds light on the fact that the rights and freedoms of people who wish to leave the Islam religion are not adequately protected. According to the report "it is difficult and more generally dangerous for a Muslim to leave his religion" in France.
Unknown persons vandalised a church in Heilbad Heiligenstadt on 28 July. "Between 1 and 5.30 p.m., unidentified persons vented their destructive rage in the St. Martin's Church on the church square in the old town. The perpetrators had tagged several pillars, spilled candle wax on the floor and broken a glass vase and a basin of the holy water dispenser. The stone staircase was also damaged by the vandals. The police have launched an investigation and an appeal for witnesses.
Destroyed by arson in 2013 already and then rebuilt, the St. Nicholas Church in Westkapelle, a section of the Flemish municipality of Knokke-Heist on the Dutch border, was set on fire on 28. July. Passers-by noticed smoke coming from the church. They went inside and noticed that the candle stand was burnt out. The fire was quickly extinguished and an investigation was launched - which points to vandalism by teenagers.
In Matera, unknown vandals defaced the 16th Century Church of the Immaculate Conception with anti-Christian phrases. The Pisticci administration announced: "This time it is an even more serious act because it has hit one of the symbolic assets of our historical-artistic heritage, certainly among the most beautiful and important in our country." The municipal administration reported the act to the authorities and asked citizens to help in identify the ones responsible. One of the inscriptions said "F*ck your God" or "Son of a *?"
On the 26. July at night, a US-American tourist ransacked the Basilica of Boulogne-sur-Mer. In the pictures posted by the police on Twitter one can see benches were knocked down, statues broken on the ground, the altar was ransacked and other sacred objects were damaged. The man was arrested by the local police.
The statue of Our Lady of Beauraing in Kanfen, a commune in the Moselle region near the Luxembourg border and Dudelange, has been vandalised on 26. July - unknown persons have burnt it. The previous statue in the same oratory was stolen outright, and was made of bronze.
During the night of July 25-26, a shrine with a statue of the Virgin Mary was profaned in the district of Przemyśl, in Poland.
On the 24. July, unknown perpetrators set fire to a church in Monheim am Rhein. The incident was discovered by a church employee, who noticed in the evening that all candles were on the altar and behind the altar had been lit. They also found lit pieces of paper and matches on the floor that left burn marks. Police are investigating.
The Church of St. Bartholomew in Zeiskam was damaged by unknown perpetrators on the 24. July with anti-Christian and obscene tags. One can see photos of the exterior façade defaced with red paint spray. Some of the symbols are an inverted cross, a star inside a circle (a witchery symbol) and a penis. The St. Bartholomew's Church Foundation has filed a complaint with the police.
On the days around the 23. July, several cases of attempted arson took place in the Liebfrauenkirche in Mengen. Easily combustible objects were set on fire several times inside the church by unidentified perpetrators. According to the police, there was a danger that the fire would spread to the furnishings, but fortunately, the fires went out by themselves. The criminal investigation department in Sigmaringen is looking for witnesses.
The church of Saint-François-d'Assise in Perpignan was desecrated on the 23. July in the afternoon by a group of vandals. The perpetrators ransacked the church and the sacristry, they threw the consecrated hosts to the ground and attempted to set fire to a statue of the Virgin Mary and dried flowers. They also broke the safe and looted the little money that was in the church from offerings and donations. The police is investigating the case.