On the 2nd of October, a student was arrested in Montpellier after threatening to set fire to the church of Saint-François d'Assise. She said that she could not stand the noise of the church bells. The woman is said to have stormed into the church at the time of service (around 11.30 am) and threatened to set fire to the church, referencing what happened at Notre Dame in Paris. Given the aggressive behaviour towards the parish volunteers, she has been banned from entering the church.
At the end of September, two thieves entered the Church of All Saints of St. Petersburg in Kingisepp, Leningrad oblast, through the bell tower and stole two pectoral crosses placed on the altar. They were arrested. The youngest was also connected with a theft from a florist. A third protagonist who was on the lookout is also wanted.
A 48-year-old woman and her daughter-in-law who were arrested after stealing sacred gold objects from a church store on the night of May 10-11 in Orenburg were tried and sentenced to ten months of "colony life", which is the Russian equivalent of semi-liberty. The loot was returned.
During the night of September 30 to October 1, a recently refurbished statue of the Virgin Mary was broken and placed on a pole a little further away, in La Chapelle Thouarault, a township located west of Rennes, near the Hermitage-Mordelles station. The act aroused the indignation of the town hall and local residents.
In the district of Haselbach in Braunau, a sacristan was brutally beaten up during his evening prayers on the 29. September. The perpetrator has been identified as a 26-year-old homeless man from Romania. The perpetrator had asked the 87-year-old sacristan for money, who had given him some help before. This time, the sacristan refused and the young man decided to attack him. The victim was found by witnesses, who saw him severely injured and alerted the police.
Between September 25 and 28, unknown perpetrators forced open an entrance door of the Dreifaltigkeitskirche (Holy Trinity Church) and thus entered the church building. Inside, cupboards and donation boxes were broken open and an unknown amount of money was stolen from them. The damage to property cannot yet be quantified, reports the local police.
On September 27, a number of brass chalices and two big screens were stolen from the basilica of the Santissima Annunziata di Firenze in Montecosaro. The chalices are sacred objects that are used to celebrate Mass.
It was reported on the 27. September that the Municipal Committee of the Aragonese Party (PAR) criticised the vandalism caused to the exterior of the church of La Magdalena in Zaragoza. The exterior wall of the church is covered in graffiti that includes offensive expressions or insults against the clergy.
Belarusian Police banned New Life Church from meeting for dominical worship in the parking lot of the church building from which they had been forcibly evicted. On 25 September officials ordered the Belarussian Police to ban the Sunday meeting and detain anyone who did not leave, while pastors Vyacheslav Goncharenko and Antoni Bokun were detained and fined for having organized the 18 September 2022 service.
The position of an EU Envoy of Religious Freedom is still vacant. The position was left vacant for 2 years, until it was briefly held by Christos Stylianides from May to September 2021. He left the role, as he was offered a different position only 5 months later. In 2022, it was communicated that Mario Mauro would be confirmed as a new Envoy, but there has not been any further confirmation. On the 23. September 2022, Marco Gombacci wrote an Open Letter to Ursula von der Leyen questioning why the EU is not making the safeguarding of Religious Freedom a priority, given its "indispensable value for defining democracies and states under the rule of law".
A man of foreign origin, and known to the local police for numerous acts of theft, was arrested on September 23 at the Church of St. Michael the Archangel in the Madonna Alta district of Perugia, while threatening the faithful and shouting in the place of worship, during mass. The man is also known for robberies against a church in the city. He has been referred to the police.
During the night of September 22-23, individuals broke the bottom of the door of the Chapel of the Virgin, in Via della Riotta in Novara, in the Italian Piedmont, and removed the Stations of the Cross from the wall to throw the stations into the garden of the chapel. The parish priest, Fr. Massimo Volpatti, filed a complaint and reported the incident on social networks - this small 17th-century chapel has no video surveillance. He also celebrated a mass of reparation and strongly denounced "a profane, serious, sacrilegious act" in the local press.
On September 21, a woman broke into the sacristy of the cathedral of Gorizia, an Italian city in Friuli on the border with Slovenia, with keys stolen last week, and looted it. Nevertheless she was detected by the cathedral's video surveillance and arrested a few hundred meters away. In her bag were chalices, patens, a custode, a baptismal shell and other consecrated objects - but all in non-precious metal. As well as a bag with other keys of the cathedral.
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.