On New Year's Eve, the the statue of Infant Jesus was stolen from a nativity shrine on Umberto I Square in Orbassano, near Turin. However, on January 4 the statue reappeared on the steps of St. John the Baptist Parish with a letter of apology: "I apologise for the stupid gesture. Please put it back where it belongs. Thank you".
On January 3, a Lutheran church in Halle, Germany, was set on fire. The police assume it was an arson attack. "Witnesses became aware of the fire at the entrance to the church and were able to prevent the fire from spreading further", said the police spokesperson. As a result of the arson attack, the entrance door is damaged. The police is investigating the case.
Vandals attacked a Nativity scene in Salò, Italy. The figure of the Infant Jesus from the Nativity Scene of the local fire brigade was thrown into the Garda Lake between the 2nd and 3rd of January. The friends of the Salò fire brigade comment that "the baby Jesus was uprooted from his cradle and thrown into the waters in front of the site designated to house the Nativity." They also reported that the figure of St Joseph was also replaced.
A plot to bomb Cologne's Catholic cathedral has been uncovered by police. "The attack was to have been carried out with a car packed with explosives," the local media announced. As a result of the plot, five men were arrested between 26 and 31 December, all of them allegedly linked to Islamic extremists. The Cologne police spokesman said that the police would maintain security at the cathedral.
Every year dozens of nativity scenes are set up along the Via dei Presepi. This Christmas, one of them was found with eight out of ten human figures decapitated, as it was reported by the police on January 2nd. The figures of the animals were also damaged. The incident has been described as a "sacrilegious surgical act". This event was also communicated on social media by the councillor, Susi Giglioli.
On January 1st, unknown vandals smashed the statue of the Child Jesus in Gorla Maggiore, Italy, in broad daylight. Mayor Pietro Zappamiglio expressed "great sadness and bitterness at what has happened." It is hoped that the vandals were caught on church cameras.
It was reported that on New Year's Eve, unknown perpetrators vandalised the nativity scene of the parish church of San Quintino in Alliste, targeting the statue of the infant Jesus. The parish priest commented: "An outburst by our children that should make us reflect".
On January 4, a nativity scene was vandalised with blue paint outside the parish church of Großenbach-Hünfeld, Germany. The local community is shocked about the incident.
In the night from December 31 to January 1, unknown perpetrators have damaged the stations of the Via Crucis, defacing them and committing severe vandalism. According to the councilor of the Municipality of Pinzolo, Luca Vidi, the statue of Christ was stolen from the first of the stations of the cross. Other stations have been defaced with "unrepeatable slogans" against "the Church, Christianity and the Pope". "Some people are not educated as they should be, and there is no respect for the common heritage, ignoring the fact that it was created with everyone's efforts," the councillor commented.
On New Year's Eve a newly restored statue of Mary has been vandalised for the second time in Dunavecse, Hungary. Unknown perpetrators smashed the head of the statue and trampled its pieces.
On New Year's Eve, vandals destroyed the nativity scene in Campogalliano, Italy. The crib was built by local volunteers. Unknown vandals destroyed the figures and also damaged a nearby bus station.
A statue of the infant Jesus of the church of Santa Maria delle Grazie was found destroyed on New Year's Eve. The figure was found with its arm and head cut off. The head is still missing. The village, which has only 198 inhabitants, is wondering who could have done such a thing.
As it was reported at the end of December 2023, the nativity scene in Piazza della Repubblica in Monfalcone, Italy, has been attacked. The statuette of baby Jesus was found decapitated and smashed to pieces. The police are investigating. The mayor, Anna Maria Christi, said that everything is being done to find those responsible.
On December 30, a nativity scene was destroyed in the Setticamini area of Rome, Italy. The crib was built by the citizens. The vandals "destroyed the face of Mary, they broke the hand of Saint Joseph, they tore down all the decorations and scattered them everywhere".
On January 29, Don Severino Bernardini, the parish priest of Sant'Agnese, noticed that the crib was empty: the baby Jesus had been stolen. This is not the first time that this has happened in the parish. Hopefully the priest, who is a man of vision, had another baby figurine in stock. However, Don Severino left a note in the cradle to try and move the thief's heart: "Please take me back to my crib". Although the missing figurine has been replaced, the parish priest hopes that the thief will return the stolen baby Jesus.
On December 26, unknown perpetrators set fire to the entrance of Maria Namen Parish Church in the 16th district of Vienna, Austria. A construction site toilet, which had been placed at the entrance of the church due to current rennovations, has been set on fire and completely melted. Apparently, fire accelerants must have been used. The parish priest, Jesus David Jean Villalobos, suspects arson.
In Muggio, Italy, vandals damaged the Nativity scene by destroying first a sheep and later the statue of baby Jesus. The act was caught by the security camera and handed over to the police. Also, the parish priest of the Madonna del Castagno pastoral community, Don Maurizio Tremolada, published a video on his Facebook page showing the young people who entered the hut around 26 December and wrote a letter addressed to those who had destroyed the statue of the baby Jesus. In the letter, he invites the perpetrators to make up for their actions.
A 30-year-old man from Tajikistan has been arrested in connection with the terror warning for Cologne's Cathedral. Shortly before Christmas, the German police had received indications about a planned terrorist attack on the Cathedral. The police presumes an Islamist extremist motive. Cologne's Cathedral has been closed outside church service hours due to security concerns since Christmas.
On Christmas Eve, street cameras caught a group of people damaging the nativity scene on the sqaure of Uboldo. The figures were "furiously kicked, punched and beaten". Someone also sat on the cradle and damaged it. The Major has announced that appropriate action will be taken.
Austria has increased security measures over Christmas due to threats of Islamist terror attacks. The suspected targets should have been Vienna's Cathedral and a few other churches. The Tajik man arrested in Germany was allegedly part of a terrorist group discovered in Vienna. The police is suspecting an Islamist terrorist motive and a connection to the ISIS-K (Islamic State - Khorasan Province). Although the suspect fled, a few other suspected terrorists, namely a man from Chechnya, another Tajik man and a woman from Turkey, were arrested before Christmas. The fugitive was arrested in Germany and is awaiting extradition to Austria.