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Vandalism of Catholic images is ramping up across the United States. Over the past few weeks, it was statues of St. Junípero Serra that were violently toppled by Black Lives Matter (BLM) protesters. This weekend, the focus shifted to statues of Our Blessed Mother.
Some clergy are speaking up. Fr. John Currie: "You know, the image of Our Lady is so important for us in our faith."
In Boston, a statue of Our Lady was set ablaze at St. Peter's Parish on Saturday, torching the plastic flowers she held — flora that has now been replaced.
The statue dates to the 1940s, erected to welcome soldiers back home after World War II. The archdiocese of Boston said it will clean the burn marks off the statue, with a spokesman for Cdl. Sean O'Malley adding that those responsible are "troubled souls."
Earlier that day in Marion County, Florida, deputies responded to Queen of Peace Catholic Church after receiving reports of someone setting fire to the sanctuary while numerous parishioners were inside — Steven Shields intentionally crashing his vehicle through the front doors of the church, exiting the vehicle, pouring gasoline in the foyer area and lighting it.
No parishioners were harmed, but Shields is still charged with attempted second-degree murder and is being held without bond. The day before, in Queens, a 100-year-old statue of the Blessed Mother at the entrance of "Cathedral Prep" was defaced with the word "IDOL."
Brooklyn's diocese is calling the act a "possible hate crime." The spray paint on the statue was cleaned off without issue.
With holy images of Catholic saints crashing to the ground, lit on fire and decapitated across the nation over the past month, faithful Catholics are wondering why the bishops are not collectively speaking with a clarion voice to end the destruction.