Virgin Mary statue BEHEADED: Catholic Churches and statues become targets of vandalism
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Several attacks on Catholic Churches in the United States occurred over the weekend, including three separate instances of vandalism on a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
There is no known motive for the attacks.
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - "What a strange time [we live in]," Bishop Richard Stika of Knoxville tweeted on July 13. "Over the weekend, an outdoor statue of the Blessed Mother was beheaded at St. Stephen Parish in Chattanooga."
The Chattanooga, Tennessee attack became the third reported incident against a statue of Mary in the same weekend, according to Catholic News Agency.
On July 11, Father Manuel Perez, a pastor of Chattanooga's St. Stephen Catholic Church, noticed the Blessed Virgin Mary statue had been knocked down. After getting a closer look, he realized it wasn't just knocked down, the statue had also been beheaded, and the head was no where to be found.
According to reports, there was no other damage done to the church.
"Anytime something like this happens, it's disappointing and it's concerning," expressed Jim Wogan, director of communications for the Diocese of Knoxville, noting there aren't any local controversies around this church that would spark such an attack.
In addition to this beheading attack, a statue of Mary, in Boston, was set on fire, and in Brooklyn, a statue was tagged in black spray paint with the word, "IDOL."
In this same weekend, a parish in Florida and the California mission founded by St. Junipero Serra were both burned in arson attacks.
According to Wong, we are in a "very chaotic time in our history."
"Anger seems to be sort of a default setting for people right now," he shared. "And I think our bishop and our pastors would hope that people would remember the sort of example that is set in the Gospels--that, we're to treat each other as we'd want to be treated."
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