Several religious statues— including two of Mary and one of Christ— outside Catholic churches were damaged in overnight attacks earlier this week, the latest of numerous acts of vandalism on Catholic churches and art this year in the US.
Police in New York City are investigating a vandalism attack against a statue of Mary outside Resurrection Catholic Church in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Marine Park, which is believed to have occurred overnight Sunday.
A parishioner who approached the statue to pray Monday morning noticed the statue’s left hand was cut off, and discovered a large crack in the statue’s head, ABC7 reported.
The church does not currently have a security camera system, but told ABC7 that they plan to install one. The suspect or suspects are still at large.
The damage in New York is at least the third documented act of vandalism against a statue of Mary in the city this year.
In July, at Cathedral Prep School and Seminary in Queens, an individual approached a 100-year-old statue of Mary shortly after 3 a.m. painted the word “IDOL” down its length.
On Sept. 11 at the Shrine of Our Lady of Solace, located in Coney Island, a man climbed over a fence, pulled a statue of Mary out of the ground, and threw the statue onto the sidewalk. The base of the statue was damaged by the vandalism.
According to the NYPD, the man is facing charges of criminal mischief. The NYPD is offering a reward of $2,500 for any information about his identity.
Likely the same evening as the vandalism against the Brooklyn statue, vandals knocked down a statue of Mary and a statue of Christ outside St. Germaine Catholic Church in Prescott Valley, Arizona, about 90 miles north of Phoenix.
The assailants also destroyed a bed of flowers and support poles for recently planted trees surrounding the Christ statue.
According to the Prescott Valley PD, the estimated cost to repair or replace the statue of Mary is $1,500. The statue of Christ did not sustain any damage, the police said Oct. 20.
Prescott Valley PD is offering $300 to anyone who has information that leads to an arrest in the case, local media reported.
Numerous attacks on Catholic art and churches in the US have been documented throughout 2020— including three separate desecrations of Marian statues in the same weekend in July.
A statue of the Virgin Mary was beheaded in Gary, Indiana on the evening of July 2 or morning of July 3.
On July 11, a Florida man was arrested after he reportedly admitted to crashing a minivan into Queen of Peace Catholic Church in Ocala, Florida, and then setting it on fire while parishioners were inside.
Also on July 11, a 249-year-old California mission founded by St. Junípero Serra burned in a fire being investigated as arson.
The same day, a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary was attacked and beheaded at a parish in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Three days later, vandals beheaded a statue of Christ outside Good Shepherd Catholic Church, in Southwest Miami-Dade County, the same day that a statue of the Blessed Virgin at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Colorado Springs was tagged with red paint in an act of vandalism.
At Our Lady of the Assumption Church in Bloomingburg, New York, a monument to unborn children killed by abortion was knocked over the weekend of July 18.
In late August, vandals beheaded a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary at Holy Family Parish in Citrus Heights, California. A statue of the Ten Commandments, placed at the parish “in dedication to all those who have lost their life through abortion,” was grafittied with a swastika.
In September, a man went on an hours-long vandalism spree at Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church in Tioga, Louisiana, breaking at least six windows, beating several metal doors, and breaking numerous statues around the parish grounds.
The same month, vandals toppled a statue of St. Therese outside St. Therese of the Child Jesus Catholic Parish in Midvale, Utah.
Later in September, a man was charged for smashing a 90-year-old statue of Christ inside St. Patrick Cathedral in El Paso, Texas.
Also in September, a man wielded a baseball bat on the grounds of a Catholic seminary in Texas and damaged a crucifix and several doors, but caused no harm to seminary students.
Throughout the summer, numerous depictions of St. Junípero Serra, mostly in California, have been forcibly pulled down by mobs of protestors.
A crowd of about 100 people tore down another St. Junípero Serra statue in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park the evening of June 19. Rioters pulled down a statue of St. Junípero Serra in Sacramento on July 4.
A Oct. 12 protest at Mission San Rafael Arcangel began peacefully but then turned violent, as participants defaced the Junípero Serra statue of the saint with red paint before dragging it to the ground with nylon straps and ropes.