DETROIT (ChurchMilitant.com) - Vandals are continuing to target Catholic churches and statues in the United States.
On Aug. 17, unknown culprits decapitated an outdoor statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary at Holy Family Parish in Citrus Heights, California. They also defaced a Ten Commandments monument, spray-painting a large swastika.
Also this month, vandals in Louisville, Kentucky knocked over and smashed a group of statues, depicting Our Lady of Fatima appearing to the shepherd children.
These instances are just some of the latest among dozens of desecrations perpetrated against Catholic churches and statues this summer — a summer that has seen massive Black Lives Matter protests accompanied by violence and looting.
Lay Catholic watchdog group Complicit Clergy has counted more than 60 anti-Catholic attacks so far this summer.
The acts of desecration have gone on throughout the summer.
Louisiana Republican senator John Kennedy has called for something to be done about the attacks on Catholic churches and statues.
"Catholics are under attack in America," Sen. Kennedy warned.
"That is a sentence I hope I would never have to write," he continued, "but it is the reality we are facing."
"The trend of desecrating Catholic spaces and property must stop," Sen. Kennedy stated. "I trust you are actively working to identify and prosecute those who have committed these destructive acts. I ask that you also focus your efforts on preventing such violence to both Catholic people and property."
The senator argued, "The Founding Fathers considered freedom of religion so integral to the fabric of the nation that they codified it in the First Amendment to the Constitution. We cannot let a handful of people destroy this fundamental right."
Last month, a man in Florida crashed a minivan into a Catholic church — while parishioners were present — and tried to set the church on fire.
Denver's cathedral — the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception — was subject to multiple instances of vandalism in late May.
Also in May, a cathedral in Los Angeles — Our Lady of Mt. Lebanon-St. Peter — was hit with graffiti.
The Maronite Church is an Eastern Catholic rite in full communion with Rome, and is largely based out of Lebanon.
The spray-painted messages included profanity-laced abbreviations like "ACAB" ("all cops are "b*****ds") and "FTP" ("f*** the police").
Senator Kennedy discussed this incident in his letter, saying, "A Catholic church, founded in 1923 by Middle Eastern immigrants, was spray-painted with anti-police messages. Middle Eastern Christians represent a minority community in America. Many are first-generation Americans who moved to the United States to escape persecution."
In Boston, unknown vandals last month targeted a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary, spray-painting the word "IDOL" and burning plastic flowers in the statue's hands.
Catholics gathered a few days later for a prayer vigil, praying in reparation and singing hymns.
At the same time, a different Mary statue — also in Boston — saw two acts of desecration. On two different occasions, someone dumped out the contents of a trash bin and placed the empty bin upside-down over the statue's head.