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.