All cases

Abbess of German Benedictine Convent Charged for Granting Church Asylum

July 20, 2020, Germany

The abbess of the German Benedictine convent Maria Frieden in Kirchschletten faced criminal charges for granting church asylum. The trial against Mother Mechthild Thürmer before the Bamberg District Court was scheduled for July 31. The abbess of the monastery in Upper Franconia had taken in an Eritrean woman in fall of 2018, who was to be deported to Italy. She disputed a penalty order for "aiding and abetting an illegal stay", combined with a fine of 2,500 euros, arguing for freedom of conscience.

Access to Justice and Legal Services Freedom of Conscience Freedom of Religion

Anarchist Tags on the Church of Saint Clement in Nantes

July 19, 2020, France

On July 19th, just a day after the fire at the cathedral in Nantes, the priest of the Fraternité Saint-Pierre serving the Saint-Clément church in Nantes discovered anarchist tags sprayed on the front of the church.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Armed Man Yelling "Allahu Akbar" Heading Toward Church Stopped by Motorist

July 19, 2020, France

A 38-year-old motorist stopped a man who was heading towards a church in Blanc-Mesnil, armed with a loaded machine gun, shouting "Allahu akbar." 

Hate Crime

Vandalism of Christ of Calvary on l’Île d’Arz

July 19, 2020, France

Unknown perpetrators broke the Christ of Calvary of Grèavo on the l’île d’Arz during the night of July 19th to 20th. The Christ figure was knocked off the large public crucifix and broken into several pieces. "A silly act, a sacrilege," reacts Christophe Stener, a local historian and resident. "Human stupidity has no limits. Whether one is a Christian or not, this act is revolting." The gendarmerie are investigating.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Window Front of Church in Bad Soden Smashed by Vandals

July 19, 2020, Germany

Unknown perpetrators destroyed the glass front of a church in Bad Soden on July 19th. The vandals smashed the glass panes of the Catholic Church in Salinenstraße, causing property damage amounting to several thousand euros. The police are investigating and asked for witness statements.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Arson Investigation after Fire Heavily Damaged Nantes Cathedral

July 18, 2020, France

In the early morning hours of July 18th, a fire began in the Saint-Pierre-et-Saint-Paul cathedral, in the heart of Nantes. Passers-by saw flames behind the rosette window of the cathedral and alerted emergency services a little before 8:00 am. When firefighters arrived, they discovered "a violent fire at the level of the organ located behind the rosette window." Upon further investigation, it appeared that the fire had started in three locations: one fire had started near the organ, while the other two were at the other end of the cathedral.

Theft and Vandalism of Tabernacle in San Giovanni Church

July 18, 2020, Italy

During the night of July 18th unknown vandals smashed the tabernacle under the image of Mary in the side altar of San Giovanni church in Trieste. Additionally, two valuable brass candlesticks were stolen. Don Sergio Fransin discovered the vandalism and theft and immediately reported the crime to the police.

Theft Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Satanists Suspected of Theft and Desecration in St. Johann Baptist Church in Krefeld

July 18, 2020, Germany

Unknown perpetrators have stolen the golden door of the tabernacle, a monstrance stance and money from an donation box. The tabernacle door was forcefully torn out and the donation box vandalized and money stolen. The community of St. Johann Baptist Church suspects satanists to be the perpetrators, who use the stolen objects for satanic rituals, because the golden altar cross was not stolen, which speaks against just a monetary motivation.

Desecration Theft Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Statue Of Virgin Mary Mutilated at the Miraculous Spring of Our Lady of Banneux

July 17, 2020, Belgium

Pilgrams to the miraculous spring of our Lady of Banneux discovered the severe mutilation of the statue of the Virgin Mary, which is situated above the spring. It is speculated that the vandalism took place in the week before July 17th. The face of the statue has been particularly mutilated therefore, the statue was replaced by an exact replica.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

New Same-Sex Marriage Law in Northern Ireland Threatens Freedom of Conscience

July 17, 2020, United Kingdom

The Parliament of Northern Ireland passed a new marriage law for same-sex couples, which has two implications for the church and Christian business owners. The law prohibits private business to deny service to same-sex couples arguing for freedom of conscience. Additionally, the new legislation allows same-sex couples of faith to have religious wedding ceremonies in church or other religious settings if all parties agree.

Freedom of Conscience

Church of the Beata Vergine del Soccorso Repeatedly Vandalized

July 16, 2020, Italy

The portico of the Church of Beata Vergine del Soccorso, known locally as La Rotonda, is often used as a meeting place for young people in the city of Rovigo, despite an ordinance against it. Several times in the weeks before July 16th, mostly young people illegally climbed onto the historic porch and vandalized it, with a least one of them being caught on security cameras using it as a toilet on May 30th. The local police began an investigation.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Monument of St. John Paul II vandalized in Parisian Church

July 16, 2020, France

A bust of John Paul II, situated next to the entrance of the Church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, because the permission to build it on the square in front of the church was denied, was severely vandalized by unknown perpetrators. Although the street of Saint Hornore has surveillance, the case has not been reported to the police yet by the parish.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Anarchist Graffiti Targeting Church; City Hall in San Giorgio a Cremano

July 15, 2020, Italy

During the night of July 15th, vandals attacked various sites in the city of San Giorgio a Cremano near Naples, including the church of Santa Maria del Principio with graffiti. One tag on the church read "Fuoco al Vaticano." The city hall gate and the headquarters of some political movements were also targeted. The city's mayor, Giorgio Zinno, said the symbols and slogans demonstrated the vandals' anti-Catholic, anti-democratic, and anarchic ideology. The police are investing the case by analyzing the recordings of the public security cameras.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Theft of Relics in the Church of Honfleur

July 15, 2020, France

On July 15th the church of Saint-Léonard was a victim of theft. Parish priest Pascal Marie discovered that the contents of four relics were stolen. One relic is of special value, as it enshrines the bones of Saint Boniface, which are said to date back to the 8th century. The case was reported to the police. The estimation of the damage is difficult to evaluate because only the bones were stolen and the other valuable objects left behind.

Theft Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Three Vandalism Incidents at Cemetery of Lézignan-Corbières in July

July 15, 2020, France

On July 15th, 24th, and 27th the cemetery of Lézignan-Corbières was repeatedly vandalized and various objects were stolen, such as crucifixes, crosses, vases, flowers, decorations, and plaques, . Gravestone plaques were dismantled, damaged, and reassembled elsewhere, and objects were moved. The perpetrators also attempted to open several graves. A police investigation was opened and the cemetery was closed to allow investigators to collect evidence for their investigations.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

San Pietro Church in Canazza Vandalized with Paint Bomb for the 5th Time

July 13, 2020, Italy

On July 13th, a black paint bomb attack on the granite facade of San Pietro church occurred for the fifth time in two years. After a respite of a year, once again community members of the church again had to remove the damage using solvents to clean the oily back paint. This time, the vandals used twice as much paint than in previous assaults, making removal from the porous granite difficult.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Statue of Virgin and Child Vandalized with Red Graffiti in Noirmoutier-en-l'Île

July 13, 2020, France

During the night of July 13th and 14th the Marian statue of Noirmoutier-en-l'Île was vandalized with obscene red graffiti. The monument to commemorate the end of a parish mission in 1949 had previously been restored after being decapitated in 2018.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Harassing Graffiti at Saint-Martin Basilica

July 12, 2020, France

During the night of July 11th, the outside walls of Saint-Martin Basilica in Tours were sprayed with offensive graffiti (a cruder version of "become lesbians"), as well as the familiar anarchic tag "ACAB". The graffiti is clearly visible at the entrance of the basilica and was probably intended for the Benedictine nuns of the Sacred Heart of Montmartre, who serve in the basilica. The police took photos and are investigating the case.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Chuch St. Joseph in Holz Vandalized

July 10, 2020, Germany

In the night of July 10th unknown perpetrators forcibly opened the door of the Holzan church of St. Joseph and tore a plant and its roots out of a pot. The perpetrators then threw the plant in front of the church. The police opened an investigation.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Vandalism and Attempted Theft at the Verbanella Church in Castelletto Ticino

July 8, 2020, Italy

On July 8th an act of vandalism and attempted theft was discovered in Castelletto Ticino in the Verbanella Church. One stained-glass window was smashed into pieces, which also caused a damage on a statue of St. Anthony of Padua that fell on the ground. The police are investigating the incident.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)