On 7. February, a man was arrested by police in Paris for making death threats against multiple priests. According to a French news site, a staff member from the Saint-Sulpice church alerted the authorities about the suspect. It was also reported that the man had threatened a priest in the Saint-Germain-des-Prés parish. The Paris judicial police are investigating the case, and it was revealed that the man is on an S file for state security related to terrorism and a search file for a temporary ban from French territory. These developments are concerning and raise questions about the motives behind the threats and whether the man acted alone or as part of a larger group.
A church in Catanzaro suffered a vandalic attack in early February (reported on the 5th February), causing damages worth 3000 euros. According to the sources, this church has been targeted before. "Dismay and anger. The umpteenth act of vandalism to which the Pistoia neighbourhood church of St. Mary of Hope [in Catanzaro], has been subjected provokes a reaction of indignation" reports Catanzaro Informa quoting Fr. Giorgio Pilò, parish priest of the vandalised church.
Matthew Grech, a 33-year-old charity worker from Malta had a first trial on February 3, after being charged with allegedly promoting 'conversion practices.' The allegations came after Matthew held an online interview with PMnews Malta in which he shared his testimony of becoming a Christian. He talked about his past, saying that he identified as gay in the past and used to be confused regarding his sexuality. Although he never promoted "conversion therapies", the police have pressed criminal charges against him.
Isabel Vaughan-Spruce had been arrested and charged with violating protest policy near an abortion center, as she was standing on the street and praying in her thoughts. UK authorities have now dropped the charges against her, but the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) warned that charges could start again in a near future. Vaughan-Spruce has said she wants to seek a clear verdict in court.
On January 31, it was reported that the Russian invaders have fired on a Church belonging to the Moscow Patriarchate in the town of Oleshky. The attack happened while a funeral was taking place, in which collaborate Zhuravko was being buried. The number of casualties after the incident is still under investigation.
One year after a group of MPs proposed a Bill in the Netherlands to ban "conversion therapies" (February 2022), the Dutch Council of State declared that the proposed bill would be a violation of religious freedom. The proposed bill aimed to impose a fine of up to 22,500€ and a year of prison for anyone found guilty of offering conversion therapies. But in a recent opinion, the Council announced that there was no clear way to differentiate between actual victims of coercion and participants who chose such a practice voluntarily, emphasizing that intrusive forms of "conversion therapy" and coercion are already prohibited by the existing laws.
On the afternoon of January 28., a perpetrator sprayed a red swastika symbol on the entrance door of the St. Wendelin Church in Neuses. It was reported that the act of vandalism was discovered right after the mass around 6:15 p.m.. The number 187 was also found next to it. An employee who takes care of the church, Klaus Schmitt, has removed the spray paint off from the wall.
On 27 January the church of Our Lady of Fatima in Koziegłowy near Poznań was desecrated. The perpetrator was a 41-year-old man who has been arrested. He knocked over a statue of the Virgin Mary, vandalized the manger, left the figure of Jesus in the baptismal font and damaged the church's sound system. The Metropolitan Curia of Poznań has called the faithful for acts of reparation.
On 25 January in the evening, a jihadist terror attack targeting two Catholic churches took place in Algeciras, Spain. Y. K., a 25-year-old Moroccan, has been arrested as the sole perpetrator of the attack, which he executed with a machete. An altar server was killed, and at least four persons are injured, including a priest in serious condition. Several witnesses indicate that he conducted the attack while shouting "Allah is great" and "death to Christians".
On the 25th of January, unknown perpetrators damaged the confessional chairs of a church with cigarette buds. The police have described the damages located in Saalfelden, Austria as willful damage to numerous pews. The investigation is still ongoing to find out the perpetrator(s).
The "la Seo" Cathedral in Zaragoza has been vandalized again, as reported on the 24th of January. The facade of the church was graffitied in several parts of the outer walls with random words, pro-Moroccan slogans, anti-police slogans and anarchist symbols with red and black spray paint. The Church has said they filed a complaint, and the investigations are still going on.
Between the 17. and the 25. of January, three Parisian churches have been attacked with arson by unknown perpetrators. Several fires have caused shock and sadness among parishioners in Paris. The last attack was on the Church of Saint-Laurent in the 10th district on the 24th. According to the findings, a Molotov cocktail was thrown at the left side of the door.
During the weekend of the 23. January in the village of Krzrpielow, a Crucifix was desecrated. An unknown perpetrator shot the statue of Jesus on the cross that belongs to the Church of the Holy Trinity. The incident was reported to the police, who are treating the case as desecration, due to the lack of respect for religious feelings. The investigation is still ongoing, and the police are asking for help to find the perpetrator.
On January 23., a witness reported to the police that several young people had destroyed the windows at the Church of St. Paul in Velbert. In a German news website, it said "small stones were used to damage the exterior glazing of the windows of the Bohemian Church." It was also reported that larger stones were found larger surrounding the Church. Fortunately, no persons were harmed. The police are looking for the vandals.
The NGO ADF UK posted a video of two community safety accredited officers in Bournemouth interrogating a veteran who was standing on the street alone, praying in his thoughts. The officers told Adam Smith-Connor that he was praying inside a Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) space, for which he was fined. According to the PSPO, certain activities such as acts of "disapproval" towards the abortion facility in the area are prohibited. Adam is at least the second person who was fined for praying silently on the street. He told the officers he was praying for his deceased son, which they considered an "act of disapproval."
There have been multiple cases in France, where churches have been targeted for hate crimes, theft or vandalism. The newest incident happened on January 18. near Paris, where the church of Saint-Martin-des-Champs and its front door and facade were partially burned. An unknown perpetrator has thrown an incendiary device, which was reported to be a molotov cocktail, against the front door at around five o'clock in the morning.
On the 17th and the 22nd of January, the church of Notre-Dame-de-Fatima, the 19th district of Paris, was hit twice by unknown arsonists. The Newspaper "Le Parisien" reported that the door of the church was sprayed with a flammable liquid. Then, the perpetrators used newspapers to start a fire, which fortunately did not spread inside the building.
On the 16. January, 46-year-old Vitaly Alekseenko was given a one-year jail term for refusing the call to the military on conscientious grounds. The Ivano-Frankivsk Appeal Court rejected his appeal against his conviction and has sentenced him to jail starting on the 19th of January. Alekseenko is the fifth known case of court conviction due to conscientious objection, but he is the first one to receive a jail sentence. Alekseenko told Forum 18 that he is "not guilty under the law of God".
An unexpected shooting occurred in North London on January 14. at the St Aloysius Roman Catholic Church. The 22-year-old suspect drove and shot 6 people who were coming out of a memorial service inside the church. The victims were a 48-year-old who has severe life-threatening injuries; a 12, 21, 41, and 54-year-old. A 7-year-old girl was also injured and was in serious condition. The police department detained the suspect for questioning after his car was found parked on Sunday. It was also mentioned that the bullets came from a black Toyota C-HR.
Near the city of Newry, vandalism occurred at a church on January 13. during the night. The perpetrator broke six windows and four bathrooms that were outside the Church of the Sacred Heart. Father Richard Naughton commented that he was "shocked to the core" and vandalism like this had never happened before. The cost for the reparation of the windows was estimated at thousand pounds. The perpetrator is still on the run. The police department has asked for witnesses to contact them as soon as possible.