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.