On January 14th, at the collège Marx-Dormoy, in the 18th arrondissement of Paris, a 12-year-old boy of Serbian origin was brutally attacked for not removing a chain necklace on which a cross hung under his clothes. The website Svi Sribi u Parizu (All Serbs in Paris) reported that the alleged attackers were five other 11-year-old pupils. When he refused to remove it, the alleged attackers surrounded him. One of the boys pushed him to the ground, and all of them started kicking him. The boy was beaten all over his body, resulting in serious injuries to his face and genitals. The attack ended when other pupils screamed for help.
Four talks by US Catholic speaker Jason Evert were cancelled due to pressure by campus LGBT groups and media reports referring to the well-known chastity speaker as "homophobic and anti-contraceptive." Presentations at two Dublin colleges, a Catholic conference called ‘Ignite 2020,’ and a talk at hotel were cancelled. According to reports, the University College Dublin LGBT Society called on the university authorities to stop Mr Evert from speaking, saying in a statement that his proposed visit to the university was “putting the safety of UCD’s LGBTQ+ community at risk” and his words could have “lasting and damaging effects on the mental wellbeing of LGHBTQ+ students.”
On the morning of January 12, a 33-year-old man from Rhauderfehn with Ivorian nationality disrupted services in three churches in Rhauderfehn and Ostrhauderfehn by shouting and threatening the worshippers.
A man suspected of committing the January 11th arson attack on the Saint-Esprit church in Bayonne was arrested the following day. Investigators were able to quickly determine that the fire had been deliberately set and video surveillance images made it possible to identify the suspect who was seen in the images leaving the church a few minutes before the first smoke was visible. The fire, which left no one injured, was brought under control by the firefighters but the suffered extreme smoke damage.
The religious crèche of the Saint-André church in Mont-Saint-Aignan, near Rouen, was vandalized on January 11, with the decorations overturned and the figures broken. The statue of the baby Jesus was decapitated. After expressing his sadness to the parish and to the parish priest, Monsignor Dominique Lebrun, Archbishop of Rouen, deplored the incident as an "offense against the Christian faith."
The Lüneburg police opened an investigation into the theft of the Jesus figure from the church on Friedenstrasse between January 10th and 11th.
Just before 4 pm on January 10th, at least three men entered the church of Santi Bartolomeo e Gaudenzio and broke through the thick glass case of the shrine carved out of a side altar containing the containing the urn of Santa Giuliana, patron saint of the town. Using a crowbar, the thieves also broke the glass of the urn and stole a rosary crown, a gold crucifix, rings, and other valuables worn by the patron saint's mannequin. The figure's left hand was the most damaged, with two destroyed wax fingers.
During the night between the 8th and 9th of January 2020 unknown perpetrators vandalized the historic building of St. Elisabeth-Kirche in Berlin-Schöneberg with black and white paint, sprayed the words “Pro Choice” on its entrance doors together with other unidentifiable symbols and glued the parish hall doors closed. A purported confession letter was later posted on the extreme left platform de.indymedia.org, naming a Berlin feminist/left-wing radical alliance as responsible for the vandalism.
On the morning of January 9th, in the space of 45 minutes, five statues of the Virgin Mary, located in three different churches of Pau (Pyrénées-Atlantiques): Saint-Martin, Saint-Jacques and Notre-Dame, were destroyed. Similar vandalism continued in the churches of the Béarn communes of Lons, Artix, Denguin, and Mourenx, where, each time, a statue of the Virgin was destroyed. A 35-year-old man, described as homeless, was arrested in Mourenx at the end of the day and sent for psychiatric evaluation.
The Christ child figure was stolen on Christmas Eve from the nativity in the church of San Giovanni Battista in Fabriano (Ancona). Volunteers purchased a new figure to replace it. The new figure was then stolen from the San Filippo church around Epiphany, but returned a few days later.
Although it was intended to be "funny," the performance shown on the "Viva la vida" television program on the afternoon of January 5th was offensive and disrespectful to viewers. Taking advantage of the fact that that afternoon the typical Three Kings' parade was taking place, the program chose to parody the scene, using their presenters as protagonists. "Shameful" and "it is a lack of respect and humiliation" and "I am a Muslim, but this seems disrespectful to me, it is not necessary to play with the beliefs of Christians to try to be a trending topic" were some of the phrases that appeared on Twitter after "Viva la Vida" published an image of the performance.
On January 5th a fire was discovered in the meeting room of Syrian Orthodox St. Maria’s Church in Norrköping. After firefighters extinguished the fire, investigators classified it as arson. Just a month before, on December 3rd 2019 a similar incident occurred when someone poured gasoline outside the church and lit it. Those two fires were not the first time the building fell victim to a suspected arson attack. In August 2018 police investigated another case. The church assembly has been discussing plans enhance security, including enlisting volunteers take turns guarding the church at night to complement the police patrols and security cameras.
Police in Ivrea (near Turin) identified a 46-year-old woman suspected of setting fire to two church nativity scenes: one in the church of San Maurizio and the second in the church of San Salvatore on January 4th. She faces a complaint for damage. The fires not only destroyed the two nativity scenes with plastic statuettes, but in the Church of San Maurizio the fire practically incinerated a painting by Tullio Alemanni, "The Baptism of Jesus," which was located above the baptismal font next to the crèche, in addition to a fresco, also by Alemanni, positioned between the crèche and the baptismal font.
The parish of Sacro Cuore in Trapani reported the theft of the Christ figure from the nativity scene in the church on January 4th.
A statue of the Virgin Mary was stolen from the church of Notre-Dame-de-l'Assomption in the town of Saint-Étienne-du-Grès on January 2, 2020.
The nativity scene installed by Alice Castello volunteers was repeatedly vandalized at the end of December and into the new year, with the figures broken and some of the statues beheaded. This was the third year in a row that this installation was attacked by vandals.
Inhabitants of Pedemonte were shocked to discover that the figure of the baby Jesus in the nativity scene erected in the Piazza San Rocco church square was burnt on New Year's Eve. Only the charred remains of the figure were left inside the blackened wooden cradle.
On December 31st German pro-life journalist Gunnar Schupelius’s car was destroyed in an arson attack for which the so-called “Autonomous Feminist Cell” claimed responsibility.
Parishioners at the New Year's Day Mass learned from the priest that the statue of Jesus was no longer in the cradle in the nativity scene in Piazza San Marco in Caprino Veronese because it had been decapitated the night before.
Statues in the nativity scene in Piazza della Libertà, Lizzanello (Lecce) were vandalized by unknown perpetrators during the night of December 31st. The faces of several of the handmade statues were smashed.
On New Year's Eve, a man riding a bicycle was filmed by security cameras stopping at the crèche in Lecce's Piazza Duomo and stealing the Christ child figure.
Volunteers from the volunteer association Pro Loco of Robbiate were forced to take down the nativity installation prematurely due to repeated vandalism. Vandalism included detaching wooden planks from the hut, dismantling pieces of the roof, and throwing away ornaments and furnishings. The display was dismantled on December 29th instead of January 6th.
Four teenaged boys were identified and referred to the Public Prosecutor at the Juvenile Court of Bresci on allegations that they vandalized the statue of the Christ child in the nativity scene in the piazza outside the basilica in San Benedetto Po. The day after the incident, police found the head and torso of the statue hanging on an iron pole on the opposite side of the piazza. Evidence collected led the police to the four perpetrators, described as Muslims, born in Italy, of Moroccan descent. They reportedly admitted their involvement in the incident.
The statue of the Christ child was discovered removed from the nativity scene in Piazza Berto in Mogliano and hung above the ground with an electric cable around its neck. Plastic cups littered the ground of the crèche.
The electrical materials used for a live nativity performance in Canosa di Puglia were stolen on December 29th by unknown thieves.
The resin figure of Jesus was taken out of the public nativity scene in Parè di Conegliano during the night between December 27th and 28th and thrown to the ground nearby by unknown vandals. Other figures in the scene were toppled and the cradle was stolen.
On December 27th an anonymous group attacked the independent evangelical church TOS Ministries Tübingen in southern Germany. Several masked people simultaneously set a minibus owned by the church on fire and sprayed the entry area of the church with purple paint. According to the police, the attack resulted in damage of 40,000 euros. A group calling itself a "Feminist Autonomous Cell" (“Feministische Autonome Zelle” FAZ) claimed responsibility for the attack a few days later in an online letter.
The nativity scene in Valgiano, which was nine meters wide and 8 meters high, with an area of over 30 square meters, most of which is occupied by water, including a central lake, a smaller body of water, and waterfalls was vandalized on December 26th. Unknown perpetrators threw detergent into the water, which may have reacted with chlorine, creating a sea of foam and a pungent smell.
The nativity scene installed in front of the Notre-Dame church of Dijon was vandalized with litter and garbage bags three times between December 20th and 25th.
Thieves removed the handmade statue of the Jesus child and wooden cradle on Christmas day at the Don Angelo Frare park near the parish church in Mosnigo.
A nativity scene in the city of Ourense was damaged on the morning of December 20th, the Christ child figure was stolen and arms broken on December 23rd, and after being recovered and installed again on December 24th, the figure was stolen again on Christmas Day.
During night between December 23 and 24, unidentified vandals entered a park while it was closed and destroyed some of the polystyrene figures in a nativity scene made by elementary school children.
Residents in Ossi, a town a few kilometers from Sassari (Sardinia), woke on Christmas day to discover that the crèche installed by a local group (Pro Loco), in collaboration with the municipal administration, had been vandalized on the town's main street. The statues were torn up, dragged, and abandoned on the street.
A statue of the Christ child, placed in the manger of the nativity scene in front of the parish church of Arbus, in southern Sardinia, was beheaded by vandals. The head was left in front of the municipal cemetery. After it was found, the head was glued back on to the body, but the local community was shocked.
At 10:15 p.m. on December 24th, unknown arsonists set fire to the roof of the set of a live nativity performance in Revine. The scene, made with wooden planks and poles and covered with reeds that volunteers had recovered a few days earlier from nearby lakes, was located in the churchyard of the church of San Matteo. A bottle of alcohol and a pair of building site gloves, tools used by arsonists to set the fire, were found on the ground. Two teams of firefighters from Vittorio Veneto rushed to the scene and managed to tame the fire before it could affect the wooden structure.
Mario Seghezzi, the mayor of Martinengo, reported on Facebook that vandals destroyed the nativity scene installed near the parish church: “I am truly sorry for the vile act that took place on Christmas Eve. An act that hurts the serenity, magic, and warmth of Christmas." Because the vandalism was recorded by video surveillance cameras, the mayor expressed hope that the three identified vandals would repair the damage.
More than a dozen graves at the cemetery next to the Saint-Jean-Baptiste church in Villeroux were vandalized during the night between December 21st and 22nd. Gravestones were knocked over and crosses were smashed.
On December 18th, a judge in an employment tribunal ruled against Maya Forstater, a tax expert at the Centre for Global Development, who defended her right to say on social media that men cannot become ‘women’ by undergoing gender reassignment treatment. Employment Judge Taylor ruled that her belief that biological sex cannot be changed “did not have the protected characteristic of a philosophical belief.” She had tweeted that “men cannot change into women” as part of an argument about the government’s proposed reforms to the Gender Recognition Act. This was not deemed a "protected belief" under the Equality Act 2010.
During the night from the 17th to 18th of December, the crèche installed on Place Charles-de-Gaulle and Christmas decorations at the town hall were destroyed. The heads of the life-sized figures representing Mary, Joseph and two wise men were cut off, and arms torn off. Garlands and fir trees in front of the town hall were damaged or stolen. “We are still in a Judeo-Christian country," said the mayor, "we can believe it or not, it remains deplorable to attack a crèche and decorations. We do that for the children... they were shocked this morning seeing all this damage."
In Saint-Just-en-Bas (Loire), 300 m² of the roof of the local church went up in flames on Sunday, December 15, during the morning Mass. An official of the commune sounded the alert when he saw an unusual smoke coming from the nave. The church was evacuated and no casualties were reported. The cause of the fire is under investigation.
On December 14th, unknown vandals beheaded the statue of St. Joseph, placed the ox and the donkey figures in an obscene position, and threw litter inside the small nativity scene installed by municipal volunteers in Angolo Terme .
Video surveillance captured the images of two sets of vandals attacking the nativity scene installed in the Lecce Piazza Duomo during the early morning hours (1:00 a.m. and 4:00 a.m.) of December 12th.
A few weeks after four churches around Munich were painted with leftist slogans, the Salesianum, a Catholic youth center run by the religious community of Don Bosco, was vandalized with swastikas, SS runes, and "Widerstand Süd," a neo-Nazi network. According to reports, the location was likely not chosen by chance, because the Salesianum also looks after underage refugees.
The windows of St. Peter's Church in Hüsten in Germany were damaged by vandals who were caught throwing stones. After witnesses heard the sound of stones hitting the church, police patrol cars caught the perpetrators. An investigation continues
The outer walls of the parish of Sant'Agostino in Bisceglie were vandalized with spray-painted graffiti during the night between the 8th and 9th of December. According to the parish priest, this is not the first time he has had to go to the police to file a complaint. "I have been asking for help to find a solution for 5 years," he explained.
Europa Laica wrote to demand "the denunciation and repeal of the 1979 Agreements with the Holy See, and those of 1992 with other confessions", as well as the "priority of public and secular schools, free of religious indoctrination or of any kind, as a way of overcoming the inequality generated by an educational system in concert with the Catholic school financed by the public treasury." Additionally, the group demands the abolishment of the economic and fiscal privileges enjoyed by the Catholic Church, as well as the promulgation of a "Freedom of Conscience" law.
A line of Christmas cards produced by British card company 'Love Layla' caused controversy for including messages mocking some of the deeply held beliefs of the Christian faith. The cards included taglines which call into question the Virgin Mary's miraculous conception, and which refer to Jesus as "a bloke that wore socks with sandals." Speaking to the Daily Mirror, James Mildred, for Christian Action Research and Education (CARE) said, "A lot of Christians will be deeply offended by this sort of thing...It highlights a fundamental hypocrisy that Christianity is seen as fair game to mock, disparage and insult."
During the night of December 7th (the night before they were to be displayed), unknown vandals damaged the nativity figures in Palau. The town's inhabitants, along with the artist Mario Spano, known as Marieddu, who spent months making them by hand, were dismayed by the act.
Police suspect leftist activists were responsible for the vandalism of four Munich-area churches that left parishioners outraged and dismayed. Slogans such as "Burn the churches down" and "Neither God nor master - destroy the patriarchy" were painted on the entrances of the churches resulting in thousands of euros in damage.
Crucifixes and a fountain from a chapel in Alpbach. A gilded statue of the Virgin Mary from the parish church in Kufstein. A baroque monstrance from a church in Pfaffstätten, host bowls in Biedermannsdorf -- these are just a few examples of sacred art objects that were stolen from Austrian churches in 2019.