All cases

Theft of Consecrated Hosts in Málaga

April 10, 2019, Spain

The Diocese of Málaga report the theft of two ciboria containing consecrated hosts from the Iglesia de la Trinidad in Antequera. The diocese noted that apart from the fairly low value of the ciboria stolen, the theft of the hosts was a "desecration of extreme gravity that deeply offends the Catholic faith."

Tabernacle Broken and Hosts Stolen from Montluçon Church

April 9, 2019, France

When the sacristan came to close the church of Saint-Pierre in Montluçon on the evening of April 9th, he discovered that the tabernacle had been broken open and the ciborium containing consecrated hosts had been stolen. Monsignor Laurent Percerou, Bishop of Moulins said "This act, which touches us in the heart of our faith, is a terrible and dramatic act."

Desecration Theft

Cemetery Restoration Includes System to Obscure Christian Symbols

April 8, 2019, Italy

The municipal council of Pieve di Centro in Bologna approved a proposal to install a motorized curtain system in the unconsecrated cemetery chapel to temporarily cover Christian symbols and tombs inside the chapel during ceremonies for non-Christians. The decision generated controversy, with some commentators criticizing the lack of transparency about the project, noting that the public had not been consulted and that construction of another, non-denominational space had not been considered or discussed.

Exclusion (of individuals or ideas) Intolerance towards Religious Symbols

Fire Set in Doorway of Evangelical Church in Naples

April 8, 2019, Italy

In the early morning hours of April 8th, an unknown arsonist set fire to the door of the church of Nuova Pentecoste Gesù ritorna in Naples. Security cameras captured video of a man removing a bottle containing flammable liquid, sprinkling the liquid in front of the church door, and setting it on fire. The door and facade of the church were damaged, but the fire did not spread to the inside.

Hate Crime

Vandalism in Parish Hall

April 7, 2019, Germany

Vandals ransacked the restrooms in the parish hall of the Catholic church of St. Leodegar Oberschopfheim (Friesenheim) causing an estimated €5,000 in damage. Toilet bowls and the sink were smashed, stall doors pulled from their hinges, and glass from broken windows and bottles was scattered everywhere. Lighting along the passage between the church and the parish hall was also destroyed.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Repeated Vandalism in Coesfeld Church

April 5, 2019, Germany

There were several reported incidents of vandalism in and around St.-Johannes-Kirche in Bösensell in late March and early April. A windowpane was smashed and wax was poured on the altar and on the sanctuary (chancel) lamp. Lightning rods were torn from the facade of the church, and tools were used to try to break into the Poor Clares donation box. Brochures, prayer books, and tea lights were scattered around the church, including in the holy water basin. Glass bottles containing holy water were smashed to pieces.

Desecration Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Church of Saint-Etienne Vandalized, Hosts Desecrated in the Vendée

April 4, 2019, France

According to a statement from the mayor of Bois-de-Céné, on April 4th vandals attempted to force open the wooden door of the tabernacle in the church of Saint-Etienne and when they were unsuccessful, they tore its bottom from the wall to take the consecrated hosts. The hosts were later found on the ground. The perpetrators, who the mayor said "it appears were teenagers" also stole holy water and urinated behind the organ. The municipality condemned the acts and filed a complaint with the police.

Desecration Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Priest Calls Church Rampage "Spiritual Anarchism"

March 23, 2019, Austria

Unknown perpetrators entered the parish church in Leoben sometime between 11am and 2pm on March 23rd and urinated on the altar, dumped out holy water, rearranged candlesticks and pews, tore the wiring for the sound system out of the wall, draped the pew cushions on top of the altar and laid the cordons on top of them. Fifty tea lights which had been placed next to a statue of the Virgin Mary were stolen and thrown into an empty fountain 100 meters from the church.

Desecration Theft Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Report Calls Swedish Asylum Process for Converts a "Complete Lottery"

March 20, 2019, Sweden

A study analyzing the asylum claims from 2015-2018 of 619 Afghan converts to Christianity outlined serious shortcomings in the Swedish Migration Board's process. 68% of the converts were denied asylum on the grounds that their conversions were not deemed to be "genuine," despite all of them being baptized members of 76 churches in 64 locations across Sweden. The report noted that the Migration Board emphasized knowledge-based answers to questions and intellectual ability, rather than evidence of belief, religious practice, and involvement in church life.

Access to Justice and Legal Services Exclusion (of individuals or ideas) Freedom of Religion

UK Home Office Rejected Christian's Asylum Claim by Quoting Bible

March 19, 2019, United Kingdom

An Iranian man who converted to Christianity after discovering it was a peaceful religion in contrast to Islam had his asylum claim rejected by the Home Office on March 19th. In a rejection letter from the Home Office, passages with violent imagery from the Bible including Matthew, Revelation, and Exodus were used to argue that the claimant's claim about Christianity was false. “These examples are inconsistent with your claim that you converted to Christianity after discovering it is a ‘peaceful religion’ as opposed to Islam, which contained violence and rage,” the letter read. The Home Office later said the letter was "not in accordance with our policy approach to claims based on religious persecution" and agreed to reconsider the application.

Access to Justice and Legal Services Freedom of Religion

Arson Attempted Twice in Senigallia Cathedral

March 19, 2019, Italy

An unidentified person set fire to the altar tablecloth in the chapel near the cathedral entrance. At about 8:30 a.m. on March 19th, parishioners and a priest noticed flames and smoke coming from a chapel altar and immediately extinguished the fire. The priest then reviewed surveillance footage and observed a man entering the cathedral and setting fire to linens in a different part of the church, as well. The police were called and began an investigation, noting that there were signs of forced entry on several doors.

Desecration Hate Crime Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Catholic Journalist Questioned by Police for Tweet

March 19, 2019, United Kingdom

Caroline Farrow, a Catholic journalist, was investigated under the "malicious communications act" after the founder of a transgender charity accused her of misgendering her daughter in a tweet. Farrow said it is her religious belief that a person cannot change sex.

Exclusion (of individuals or ideas) Freedom of Expression

Fire Deliberately Set in Saint-Sulpice Church in Paris

March 17, 2019, France

On Sunday, March 17th, the church of Saint-Sulpice in Paris had to be evacuated after a large fire broke out in the entryway. The large wooden door of the southern transept was engulfed in flames and severely damaged, as was the stained glass window above it. Firefighters were able to contain the blaze to prevent it from spreading to the rest of the church. On March 18th, investigators announced that the fire was not accidental in origin, but had been deliberately started.

Hate Crime Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Statue of Jesus Damaged by Vandals in Katowice

March 17, 2019, Poland

Sometime during the night of March 16th to 17th, unknown vandals damaged the crucifix outside the church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in Koszutka, a district of Katowice (Najświętszego Serca Pana Jezusa w Koszutce). Reports indicate that stones were likely thrown at the statue of Jesus, breaking the legs and arms.

Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Desecration at Basilica in Charente-Maritime

March 16, 2019, France

The Basilica of Saint-Eutrope de Saintes in the Charente-Maritime department of southwestern France was desecrated on March 16th when consecrated hosts were stolen by unknown thieves. The diocese announced that a reparation Mass would be held.

Desecration Theft

Break-ins, Theft, and Desecration in Málaga Churches

March 14, 2019, Spain

The diocese of Málaga reported the theft of two ciboria containing consecrated hosts from la Iglesia de la Trinidad en Antequera on March 11th. In a statement, the diocese stressed that this was a "profanation of extreme gravity that deeply offends the Catholic faith." The vicar of the parish called on the thieves to "return the ciboria and repent for the theft." Two days later, in the early morning hours of March 13th, police noticed the entrance to the chapel of the Sagrada Familia in El Copo had been forced open and the sacristy had been damaged.

Theft Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Counsel for University of Sheffield: Christian Views Should Not be Expressed in Public Forum

March 13, 2019, United Kingdom

During the Court of Appeal hearing in the case of Felix Ngole, the University of Sheffield graduate student in social work who was dismissed from the program after he expressed his Christian views about marriage on Facebook, counsel for the university said no social worker should be allowed to express such views.

Freedom of Conscience Freedom of Expression

Offensive Messages Painted on Cathedral of Santiago

March 12, 2019, Spain

The Cathedral of Santiago was targeted by vandals during the early morning hours of March 12th. Messages sprayed in black paint on the facade and in various areas of the basilica ranged from anti-Church ("Yo no salí de tu costilla, tú saliste de mi coño" and "Machitos")" to anti-royal ("Guillotina Borbones"), and against the Santiago Abascal party ("Gritaremos hasta quedarnos sin Vox"). The cost to remove the graffiti is unknown, but could be in the tens of thousands of euros.

Violent Attacks against Pro-Life Prayer Vigils in Manchester and Nottingham

March 12, 2019, United Kingdom

Police began a public order offense investigation on March 12th in Manchester after an angry individual screamed obscenities at elderly members of the 40 Days for Life group and sent chairs and leaflets flying outside an abortion clinic. A day earlier, in Nottingham, three people praying outside a medical centre were accosted by a man who swore at them and threw a jug of lumpy yellow liquid at them. Police began an investigation for assault as well as a hate crime motivated by the victims' religious beliefs.

Freedom of Association and Assembly Freedom of Expression Hate Crime

Priest Assaulted in Marseille

March 12, 2019, France

A Dominican priest was with a group of high school students giving coffee to a homeless person when he was grabbed by the throat from behind by a stranger. The man then released the priest and said "I will not shake your hand." The priest was unhurt but shocked by the incident. He reported the incident because he thought he had been targeted because of his religious dress.

Hate Crime Hate Incident