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.
A drunk man was arrested by Lyon police for setting fire to a garbage can placed against the door of the Saint-Georges church. The fire caused extensive to the door and smoke damage inside the church.
The European Parliament adopted a resolution which calls "for an end to violations against the freedom of Christians and other religious minorities to worship."
A Christian pastor and school caretaker, who received abuse and threats for a June 2019 tweet about LGBTQ Pride has taken legal action against the school which he felt forced to leave.
The car owned by the parish priest of Basilica di Maria SS di Monserrato in Vallelonga was destroyed in an arson attack on December 2nd while it was parked near the church. Press reports described the incident as "intimidation" of the priest and shocking to locals. The priest discovered the fire and contacted the fire brigade and police from the Compagnia Serra San Bruno began an arson investigation.
On November 30th 2019, unknown perpetrators sprayed two swastikas around the entrance doors of the Sankt-Nicolai-Kirche in Magdeburg. A police spokesman said the symbols were illegal and would be immediately painted over. Police continued to investigate the case, but state security services were likely to take over the investigation.
Roar Fløttum was preaching and praying for the sick on a Trondheim street on November 27th when he interacted with four Muslim men. According to Fløttum, the men asked him to come with them to pray for a friend. He agreed and when they got him to a backyard, they pushed him down a cellar staircase, beat him, robbed him, and threatened to kill him if he did not convert to Islam. Police, who have called this a very serious incident, are reviewing street camera footage to identify the perpetrators.
School leadership at a Wil elementary school in the Swiss Canton of St. Gallen made the decision to remove the three Advent/Christmas songs from the program of its year-end show, out of "respect for other cultures and religions." Teachers were reportedly "astonished" at the decision and the President of the Coordination of Islamic Organisations in Switzerland, encouraged schools not to change their traditions: "From our point of view, it is very regrettable when Christian songs are no longer sung in a Christian country," he said.
A High Court judge ruled in favor of an exclusion zone around a school in Birmingham permanent, preventing parents from protesting outside the grounds against the "No Outsiders" primary school programme that teaches about LGBT relationships. Many parents and activists claim the programme contradicts their faith and is not "age appropriate." A temporary exclusion zone was first imposed by the courts in the summer after months of protests outside Anderton Park Primary School by mostly Muslim parents. Birmingham City Council claimed that the order was sought from the courts over safety concerns.
The Christkind (Christ child) figure was stolen twice in three days from the Christkindlmarkt (Christmas market) on Enkplatz in Vienna. The original figure was replaced after the first theft. The replacement was then stolen. Now it has been replaced, at least temporarily, with a wooden stake with a woolen cap on top. Locals expressed outrage at the thefts and the priest of the adjacent church offered to receive the figure "discreetly" from anyone who wished to return it.
Notre-Dame-en-Saint-Melaine Church and Saint-Sauveur Basilica in Rennes were burglarized during the night of November 24th to 25th by unknown thieves. The doors were pried open with crow bars and offertory trunks were broken. The parish priest of Notre-Dame called the incident "ugly and hurtful."
The Grotto of Notre-Dame de Lourdes of l'église Saint-Pierre ("Dompeter") in Avolsheim (Bas-Rhin) was found sprayed with the contents of one or more fire extinguishers. Nestled in the middle of the fields, the isolated site is known by many Alsatians as the church is the oldest in Alsace and is on the Pilgram's Way of Saint-Jacques-de-Compostela (Camino de Santiago). In the field adjoining the grotto, large tracks of a vehicle were noted. The police began an investigation.
Graffiti reading "Death to the Clerofascists" (Smrt klerofašistom) was painted on the outside of the Church of St. Mary, Mother of the Church in late October; and on the St. Barbara Chapel on Calvary, Maribor Hill and on the Catholic High School in Maribor in November by unknown vandals. Police opened an investigation.
On the afternoon of November 21st, two men broke a door and entered the church of Saint-Jean-Baptiste in the Tarbes city center to commit serious vandalism. The unidentified vandals tore up and burned Mass books and then soiled them with human excrement; at least one of them urinated against a wall. A statue of St. John the Baptist was thrown at the pews, a crucifix was toppled and thrown to the ground, and a fire extinguisher was emptied in the church. The organ was opened and microphone wires were torn out. The perpetrators fled when a parishioner entered to pray.
An atheist couple who launched a High Court challenge because they feel their children are being religiously "indoctrinated" during assemblies have won their judicial review claim. The Burford primary school in the Cotswolds in Oxfordshire is one of 33 schools of the Church of England's Oxford Diocesan Schools Trust (ODST). Although parents were already entitled to withdraw their children from assemblies, even in church-run schools, The Harrises have argued that the school must provide an "inclusive assembly as a meaningful alternative for pupils withdrawn from Christian worship," rather than simply supervision of the children.
In October 2018, an elderly nun applied for a place in a retirement home in Vesoul, run by the city's Centre Communal d'Action Sociale (CCAS) in her home prefecture of Haute-Saone. After nine months on the waiting list, on July 2019, her request for housing was accepted, but with one condition: "With due respect for secularism, any ostentatious sign of belonging to a religious community cannot be accepted in order to ensure the serenity of all. Indeed, religion is a private affair and must remain so." The nun was told she could only wear a discreet cross. Having worn her religious habit all of her adult life, she refused to comply and was thus denied a place.
On November 18th, five young people were arrested for vandalism at the church Saint-Gervais-et-Saint-Protais. Vandalism included urinating in confessionals and holy water stoups, tearing up a book, and attempting to set fire to the altar cloth.
On the afternoon of November 16th, an unidentified man entered the Trasfigurazione del Signor church in Scorrano while it was empty and stole money from the donation box and a golden necklace from around the neck of a statue of the Virgin Mary. Before leaving the church, he urinated on the altar underneath the crucifix. The incident was captured on video and police are investigating the identity of the individual.
A visitor to the St. Katharina Kirche in Buschhoven discovered that a fire had been set in the church during the early afternoon of November 16th. Local media reports that books and booklets were placed on top of the lit candlesticks in front of the statue of the Virgin Mary, revered by Christians and pilgrims as the "Rosa Mystica." The books caught fire and the church was enveloped in a huge mass of smoke and soot before the fire brigade was able to extinguish the blaze. Earlier in the week, a fire had been set in the same church using the candles but was extinguished before major damage occurred.
The Protestant Versöhnungskirche in Buschhoven was the target of vandalism twice in the same week, with its hymnals and booklets scattered, seat cushions thrown on the floor, candles pushed off the altar, and a small fire lit on a doormat. These incidents coincided with fires having been set at the nearby St. Katharina Kirche.
On morning of November 14th, the hermitage of the Holy Sepulcher in Tauste (Zaragoza) was discovered vandalized and the life-sized statue of the Nazarene Christ burnt. The custodian of the hermitage, Juan Francés, found the remains of a fire when he opened the hermitage and found "everything lying on the ground and on fire.” The city council of Tauste condemned the attack on the hermitage “It was an attack on a religious and cultural symbol of our people. It is not a simple act of vandalism.”
A Catholic Liberal Democrat who was the prospective candidate for Stoke-on-Trent South in the upcoming election was abruptly deselected on the basis that his "values" were not in line with the party. Thirty-six hours after Robert Flello was chosen as the Lib Dem candidate, the party announced in a press release that his candidacy had been revoked. The former Labour MP's views on abortion and marriage were not a secret, as he had been a member of parliament for 12 years.
Intruders broke into the Star of the Sea Carmelite Nuns monastery in Malahide in the early afternoon of November 11th and verbally abused the elderly resident sisters, sprayed and smeared the walls of convent's chapel with graffiti.
Over the weekend of November 9-10, unidentified vandals broke windows and set the Agia Trapeza (altar) on fire, burning sacred items, in the Agios Haralambos Church. According to reports, this was the third church vandalized in Chalkios on the island of Chios within a week. In the Church of Panagia, a window was smashed and oil and candles were stolen and a fire was set in the Church of Agios Petros and Pavlos.
Just before an evening Mass on November 9th, unidentified vandals entered the Tonnay-Charente church and tore open the tabernacle of the altar of the Virgin Mary, breaking the doors. The consecrated hosts in the ciborium were thrown to the ground and the glass container holding a host consecrated for adoration was stolen. In addition, crosses were reversed and chairs and statues were broken, including one depicting St. Joseph holding the baby Jesus, which was decapitated by the perpetrators. The Bishop said, this was "desecration, not burglary."
Unknown perpetrators set fire to an altar in the church of Sant Joan in Lleida (Lérida) on November 7th. The rector, Joan Ramon Ezquerra, reported that a day earlier, three bouquets around the church had also been set on fire. Mass could not be celebrated in the central nave and had to be moved to the chapel.
On November 4th, the Finnish State General Prosecutor issued a press release announcing the launch of a pre-trial investigation into the publication and distribution of the 2004 pamphlet "Mieheksi ja naiseksi hän heidät loi" (in English, “Male and female He created them”), authored by Päivi Räsänen, the Finnish politician investigated by the police for a tweet in June 2019 quoting the Bible on the issue of homosexuality. Although the pamphlet was printed 15 years ago, it will be included in the case against the Christian politician because it is still “available online.” Räsänen, who served in the past as Minister of the Interior of the government of Finland, risks being accused under Section 10 of the Criminal Code of Finland for “ethnic agitation,” a crime punishable with a fine or prison.
Victory in international court bolsters protections for Christians who face life-threatening persecution in home countries.
A car fitted with a battering ram was driven into the door of the Cathedral Sainte-Marie d'Oloron in southwestern France on November 4th. Once inside the cathedral, thieves entered the chapel and sawed the iron bars protecting sacred and liturgical items. They stole chalices, ciboria, a centuries old nativity scene, and vestments used by the priest for the Mass. Authorities characterized the theft as organized and well-planned.
Just before All Saints' Day, about 100 graves were damaged or destroyed in the Breuil cemetery of Cognac. Christian symbols including crucifixes, crosses, and statues of the Virgin Mary and angels were targeted. An 18-year-old self-described Satanist who "hates all religions, especially Catholicism," was arrested by the police. The timing of the incident, given its close proximity to the feast of All Saints and All Souls, shocked local residents.
More than 40 graves were vandalized in the cemetery of the Our Lady Mother of the Church (Maryi Panny Matki Kościoła) parish of Zabrzu-Helence during the night between October 26 and 27, just days before Catholics observe All Saints' and All Souls' Days. Granite tombstones were torn down and broken, and wooden crosses were destroyed by unknown vandals.
The parish priest of the Basilica of San Giovanni Maggiore in Naples has condemned the fire set in the church's musician's chapel, known as the Ecce Homo. The fire had spread to the altar when firefighters were able to extinguish it.
Police reported that at 3:30 p.m. on October 10th, a fire was found in the the Evangelical Free Church (Christuskirche) in Witzenhausen. Police officers discovered that several sheets of paper were lit in the area of a stairway directly in front of a wooden shelf, with an oily liquid used as an accelerant. The ignited papers went out without spreading and there was only minor damage to property.
Radical feminists claimed responsibility for breaking into the Pro Femina crisis pregnancy center in Berlin during the night of October 5-6. They smashed the windows on the third floor, smeared a hallway with paint and butyric acid (a foul smelling chemical) and the slogan "Pro Choice!", and glued closed the locks.
Tens of thousands of French protestors took to the streets of Paris on October 6th to protest the draft bioethics law which passed the lower house of parliament on September 25th. The bill would, amongst other provisions, allow all women under 43 the right to "medically assisted procreation," including in-vitro fertilization (IVF), regardless of their relationship status, or sexual orientation. Currently, French law only allows access to IVF to heterosexual couples unable to have children through natural means, who are either married, or who have lived together for two years.
Before dawn on October 5th, one or more intruders entered the 18th century Chapel of La Rosa in the Córdoba provincial town of Montilla through a side door. Once inside, they found the keys to the tabernacle, opened the pyx inside and scattered several hosts on the altar, according to the Rev. José Félix García, pastor of the parish of Santiago, to which the chapel belongs. Police opened an investigation.
An Iranian Christian woman living in the state of Hesse in Germany fears for her life if she is forced to return to Iran, due to strict anti-conversion laws. The woman known as "Mahsa" fled Iran and traveled to Germany in 2015, after an attempted arrest by the religious police for her conversion to Christianity. A recent decision by the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) denying her asylum limits Mahsa's options going forward.
A Christian doctor has lost an employment tribunal case, where he alleged that the Department of Work and Pensions breached his freedom of thought, conscience and religion pursuant to the Equality Act. Disability assessor, Dr. David Mackereth claimed discrimination on part of the Department of Work and Pensions for failing to accommodate his refusal to use pronouns which did not correspond with the biological sex of clients. In its decision, the panel stated that Dr. Mackereth's belief that "the Bible teaches us that God made humans male or female" was "incompatible with human dignity."
In March 2019, a Christian West End actress, Seyi Omooba, was removed from a leading role in a musical and dropped from her agency for a Facebook post about homosexuality citing the Bible over four years earlier. With representation by the Christian Legal Centre, she launched a legal challenge on September 30th against Leicester Curve Theatre and her agency, Global Artists, for breach of contract and anti-Christian discrimination.
Northern Ireland Minister received correspondence from more than 700 medical practitioners calling for conscience protections which would allow Christians and conscientious objectors within the profession the statutory right to refuse to participate in abortions.
The crucifix monument on the grounds of the Saint-Patrice church in the Croix-Rouge district of Marseille, was found vandalized with red paint on September 26th. It was the fifth time since the middle of May 2019 that the Christ figure had been defaced with red or blue paint. Public employees removed the paint and Marseille public officials denounced the vandalism.
The Saarland Prime Minister Tobias Hans (CDU) rejected the request of the Assyrian Cultural Association Saarlouis allow about 400 Syrian Christians from the conflict-torn region of Northern Syria on the Khabur River to enter Saarland. Despite offers of respite and assistance from the existing Assyrian community in the German federal state, the government said it would only admit five refugees.
The trial of a 26-year-old Afghan who was charged with committing serious bodily injury against a Christian convert at the Rottacher Traglufthalle asylum accommodation in 2016 began on September 24th.
After surviving a 2014 car accident which resulted in tetraplegic paralysis and blindness, Italian disc Jockey Fabiano Antoniani (DJ Fabo) traveled to the Dignitas clinic in Switzerland to end his life. The subsequent ruling of the Italian Constitutional Court over proceedings made against his accomplice now opens the door for the legalization of assisted suicide in Italy.
The Convent of San Juan de Dios de Olivenza was vandalized for the second time in a few days. At the end of August, it suffered a paint attack and on September 20th, it was set on fire. An investigation was opened to try to find out who or who is behind this vandalism.
Over the last few months, a church in Abertridwr, Wales endured repeated acts of vandalism, resulting in fears that it will have to close to public visits during the week. Damage included a stolen collection box, a damaged and defaced historic visitors book, in use since the 1940s, a flagstone outside the church was removed, and fire extinguishers were sprayed inside the church, causing both damage and financial burden.