A priest in Texas is pointing out the increase in church vandalism in his state and the nation, after a statue of Mary was defaced at his church about a week ago.
Cases are being reported all over the nation, he said. Church property, including statues of the Virgin Mary and Jesus, are being defaced, and Fr. Purdy does not think these acts of vandalism are completely random.
“Even a couple days ago, in the state of Texas there were two Catholic churches where there was vandalism in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and there was also one in El Paso,” said Fr. Purdy. “The number on the year is already over 100 incidents of vandalism specifically toward Catholic churches.”
His parishioners were at a loss for words when, on Tuesday of last week, they found a statue of Mary on the front steps of their church with its head, hands, and feet cut off. Fr. Purdy said the statue must have been dragged 40 feet.
“I came and I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, what happened here? I was surprised and was shocked,” said Maria Matties, a churchgoer at Queen of Angels.
The Houston division of the FBI reached out to the Dickenson Police Department, according to Fox 26. Dickinson Police said at this time they are not calling this a hate crime, but are also not ruling it out as they continue their investigation.
In order to be deemed a hate crime under federal statute, it has to be proven that the property vandalized was intentionally damaged, destroyed or defaced because of its religious character.
“It’s really an insult to Catholicism. Catholics are very devoted to the Virgin Mary. We are quite confident that’s what the person intended to do,” said Fr. Purdy, referring to the hate crime allegation.
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