All cases

Ravensburg Church Arsonist Sentenced

September 25, 2018, Germany

A 40-year-old unemployed man was sentenced to 7 years in prison on September 25, 2018 for the arson of two churches, St. Jodok in Ravensburg and St. Martin in Schlier. The incidents occurred in March 2018, which we reported at the time. The fire at St. Jodok church in Ravensburg caused at least two million euros in damage.

Spanish Mayor Disguised Himself as Priest to Perform Civil Wedding

September 23, 2018, Spain

The mayor of Ayna (Albacete), Emiliano Rodríguez, disguised himself as a priest to perform a civil wedding ceremony in the town of Castilla-La Mancha. He wore a cassock with a large cross hanging around his neck and carried a small book like a bible in his hands. While the socialist mayor claimed it was a private event not intended to offend anyone, the stunt was widely criticized. The parish priest of Albacete wrote on social media, "As a priest I protest vigorously. Please respect my faith." (Como sacerdote protesto enérgicamente. Por favor, respete mi Fe).

Insult or Incitement

Finnish Foreign Minister Faced No-Confidence Vote over Pro-Life Views

September 21, 2018, Finland

Members of the Finnish Parliament voted 100–60 against a motion of no confidence brought against Catholic Foreign Minister Timo Soini on September 21st. Four opposition parties, the Green League, Left Alliance, Social Democrats and Swedish People’s Party, brought a motion of no confidence over Soini's attendance at pro-life vigil while on an official trip to Canada in May.

Exclusion (of individuals or ideas) Freedom of Expression

Explosion at Banquet Hall of Syrian Orthodox Church in Södertälje

September 19, 2018, Sweden

Police completed their forensic investigation of an explosion in an events hall owned by the St. Afrem Syrian Orthodox Church. The hall, rented from the church for events such as parties and wedding receptions, was empty at the time of the explosion. Police said they are still investigating who was behind the attack and the motives remain unclear.

Hate Crime Hate Incident

War Memorial Damaged at Catholic Church

September 18, 2018, Germany

Police began an investigation of vandalism at the war memorial at a Catholic church in Bischofsdhron, a few days after a Way of the Cross was damaged nearby. Several stone slabs were knocked out of their foundation causing an estimated €400 in damage.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Assault on Priest and Attempted Robbery at Bulgarian Monastery

September 18, 2018, Bulgaria

Six masked men entered the medieval Rozhen Monastery at about 8:00 pm on September 18th. They assaulted and tied up the priest who was present and began digging into the wall behind the iconostasis in the monastery church with picks and spades. After about 30 minutes, they left the monastery without taking anything except the priest's mobile phone. The priest was reportedly unharmed but shaken by the incident. Security camera footage led to the arrest of some of the perpetrators.

Hate Crime Theft Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Neuroscience Professor Investigated for Telling Students Men and Women are Biologically Different

September 17, 2018, Sweden

Germund Hesslow, a neurophysiology professor at Lund University, is under investigation for "anti-feminism" and "transphobia" for telling his students there are biological differences between men and women.

Exclusion (of individuals or ideas) Freedom of Expression

Arson in Bavarian Church

September 16, 2018, Germany

Early in the evening of September 16th, a witness noticed smoke coming from the St. Michael church in Heroldsbach and contacted the authorities. Police discovered burning scraps of paper and initial estimates amounted to at least 2,500 euros in damage. After a criminal investigation, officials concluded that the fire had been intentionally set and asked for assistance from any potential witnesses.

Hate Crime Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Perpetrator Confesses to Arson of Evangelical Church

September 15, 2018, Austria

A 58 year old man confessed to setting a fire that heavily damaged the Johanneskirche am Lendkanal on September 15th. The altar cross, a gift of British soldiers and of great sentimental value, was missing after the fire but later found near the church.

Hate Crime Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Pro-Life Charity Banned from Three UK Universities

September 14, 2018, United Kingdom

Student Unions in Manchester, Warwick, and Liverpool rejected the Life charity's application to appear at their Freshers' Fairs. The Warwick Students' Union rejected Life because its members "voted to adopt a pro-choice stance." Manchester said the Fair was an inappropriate platform, while Liverpool said the charity would not offer "impartial advice" to students. Life said its displays inform students that help is available if they get pregnant. The charity filed a complaint to the Office for Students (OfS) citing discrimination and restrictions on freedom of speech. It noted that the Chair of OfS had earlier promoted the protection of freedom of speech.

Exclusion (of individuals or ideas) Freedom of Expression

Unknown Vandals Damage Way of the Cross in Morbach

September 14, 2018, Germany

Unknown vandals damaged elements of a Way of the Cross leading to the Fatima Chapel in Bischofsdhron sometime between the 12th and 14th of September. They perpetrators pushed three of the thirteen sandstone crosses from their bases and tilted back into the adjacent embankment. The crosses themselves were unharmed, but the bases were heavily damaged. Repairs were estimated at €600. Police began an investigation.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Fire in the Church of Santa Maria della Roccella

September 9, 2018, Italy

A fire broke out in a basement of the cloister of the Church of Santa Maria della Roccella. The flames affected some unused materials and various forms of waste that had piled up in a basement of the cloister. The fire brigade intervened and found four LPG tanks near the fire which they removed and secured promptly. Fortunately there was no damage done to the building and no one was hurt. The police started an investigation and did not exclude arson as the cause of the fire.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Door of Church Burned in Santa Maria di Licodia

September 7, 2018, Italy

During the night between the 6th and 7th of September, the door of the church of Madonna del Carmelo was set on fire. In the early morning hours residents became aware of the fire and extinguished it. The police investigated and found that the fire was started by lighting paper and plastic. The perpetrators damaged the base of the door and blackened the upper part. Fortunately, the flames did not spread into the inside of the church. The priest filed a complaint.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Parish Church in Gutau Vandalized

September 7, 2018, Austria

Unknown perpetrators vandalized the facade of the parish church in Gutau with red and black paint sometime between 6 pm and 10:45 pm on September 7th.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Chester Cathedral Damaged by Intruder

September 6, 2018, United Kingdom

A man was arrested after four stained-glass windows were smashed and other property was damaged at Chester Cathedral. The incident occurred just after midnight on September 4th and money was stolen from the premises. The damage caused to the cathedral is likely to exceed £10,000. The Cathedral's acting dean said the damage to the four stained-glass windows which date back to 1920 was very upsetting, in particular, the damage caused to a window depicting St. Werburgh, the Patron Saint of Chester.

Theft Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Police say 'Disgusting Attack' on Manchester Cathedral was Hate Crime

September 6, 2018, United Kingdom

Officers are treating the spraying of abusive graffiti onto the wall of the landmark late on September 6th as a "religiously aggravated attack." The language used was "too offensive to be published," according to media sources.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Anarchist Graffiti on Monument to the Virgen del Rocío

September 5, 2018, Spain

Sometime in the early morning hours of September 5th, vandals sprayed the anarchist "A" on the well-known monument. After city workers were unable to remove the paint using water, the monument's sculptor himself, Elías Rodríguez Picón, arrived to remove the paint. Local residents and officials expressed their outrage over the incident. Police began an investigation and reviewed security camera footage to identify the perpetrators of vandalism.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Chapel Vandalized in Péré

September 3, 2018, France

Parish announcements and a lectionary were burned in the small chapel Saint-Jean in the district of Péré, the lower town of Saint-Sever. Additionally, the monstrance was broken and a cross was thrown into a confessional. The vandalism occurred on the same day as the school fire of Toulouzette Park school in Saint-Sever. Police investigated a connection between the two incidents.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Senior Scottish Judge Criticized Asylum Tribunals for Disregarding Evidence of Christian Conversion

September 3, 2018, United Kingdom

An appellate court ordered a rehearing by immigration tribunals after Judge Lord Glennie, one of the appeal judges, found that the asylum judges had disregarded churchgoer's evidence of the Christian conversion of two Iranian asylum seekers who have been attending Tron Church in Glasgow and had been predisposed to rejecting their claims.

Access to Justice and Legal Services

Catholic Bookstore Vandalized by Anarchists

September 3, 2018, France

The Notre-Dame-de-France Catholic bookstore was vandalized during the night from the 2nd to 3rd of September. The perpetrators sprayed the word "FACHOS" ("fascists"), an anarchist A symbol, a communist symbol, and other words onto the windows and facade of the bookstore.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)