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FIRST ON FOX: The recent spate of attacks on Catholic churches has prompted requests for an investigation, including one from an advocacy group that sent the Justice Department (DOJ) a letter Wednesday.
In the letter, CatholicVote President Brian Burch criticized DOJ for making “no meaningful effort to raise awareness or address the disturbing rise in hate-filled attacks on Catholic religious symbols, shrines, statues and churches.”
The Virgin Mary statue is pictured during a vigil at St. Peter’s Parish-Dorchester after the statue was burned in Boston’s Dorchester July 15, 2020. (Matthew J. Lee/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
Addressed to Attorney General Merrick Garland, the letter pointed to a U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) tracker that has documented 113 alleged incidents of arson, vandalism and other destruction at Catholic sites across the U.S.
Just last week, footage surfaced with a man reportedly taking a hammer to an Our Lady of Fatima statute at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C.
“In the past year, we have witnessed — among other things — in California, statues of Father Junipero Serra toppled in protest of what activists have called the ‘enslavement’ of Native Americans,” Burch said.
“A monument for ‘babies whose lives are ended by abortion’ was knocked over at Our Lady of the Assumption Church in Bloomingburg, New York. The Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Denver, Colorado, was recently marked with Satanic graffiti.”
DOJ did not immediately provide comment. The letter comes after DOJ has encountered criticism for launching a nationwide investigation of purported harassment and intimidation of school boards.
The USCCB, which started its tracker in May of 2020, announced the 100th incident in October. At the time, New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan called on elected officials to investigate the issue.
“These incidents of vandalism have ranged from the tragic to the obscene, from the transparent to the inexplicable,” said Dolan. “There remains much we do not know about this phenomenon, but at a minimum, they underscore that our society is in sore need of God’s grace.”
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