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Arrest made in vandalism of Cardinal Dolan’s residence at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in NYC

November 10, 2022 Catholic News Agency 0
St. Patrick’s Cathedral, New York / John Bilous/Shutterstock

Boston, Mass., Nov 10, 2022 / 17:00 pm (CNA).

An arrest has been made in a two-day-long vandalism spree in October that included an attack on Cardinal Timothy Dolan’s residence at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City.

Juan Velez was arrested by the New York Police Department’s Warrant Squad, police said Wednesday. In that announcement, police said Velez is being charged with 15 incidents of criminal mischief that occurred in Manhattan. 

Three of those incidents were attacks on churches, one of which was on St. Patrick’s Cathedral, police said. 

A video of the attack on St. Patrick’s Cathedral that circulated in the media shows a man approach the historic church and throw an object at its glass doors. He then can be seen fleeing the scene. 

On Nov. 2, police said they identified the attacker as Velez. In that announcement, police said that Velez threw a wrench at the cathedral and broke a window around noon in the October attack. 

According to ny1.com, authorities said the wrench hit the residence of Cardinal Dolan, the archbishop of New York. His residence is a part of the cathedral, the outlet reported. The outlet reported that Dolan was not home during the time of the attack, and no injuries occurred, according to police.

Police said that the next day, Oct. 29, Velez “caused damage” to All Saints Episcopal Church and the “Archdiocese of New York.” It’s unclear what building in the archdiocese was attacked. However, ny1.com reported that the Archdiocese of New York on First Avenue had an unknown object thrown at it by Velez, which damaged a glass door.

The archdiocese has administrative offices on First Avenue, according to its website.

“We are grateful for the hard work of the NYPD for the serious way they responded to this disturbing incident,” Joseph Zwilling, director of communications for the Archdiocese of New York, told CNA.

According to ny1.com, authorities claim that Velez ripped a flag and damaged the front doors at the Episcopal church on East 60th Street.

Police said Nov. 3 that Velez was wanted for “criminal mischief hate crime pattern.” In that announcement, police said that Velez broke windows, doors, and flags at different churches.

Police arrested Juan Velez in connection with the Oct. 28, 2022, vandalism at St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City, and vandalism at other places of worship. Credit: NYPD Crime Stoppers
Police arrested Juan Velez in connection with the Oct. 28, 2022, vandalism at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City, and vandalism at other places of worship. Credit: NYPD Crime Stoppers

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NYC pro-abortion activists curse at churchgoers, beam ‘God loves abortion’ onto St. Patrick’s Cathedral

January 24, 2022 Catholic News Agency 0
Pro-abortion demonstrators yelled obscenities at people leaving a pro-life vigil at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City on Jan. 22, 2022. / Joe Bukuras/CNA

New York City, N.Y., Jan 24, 2022 / 16:15 pm (CNA).

Barricades and a line of police protected pro-life attendees entering and exiting the Archdiocese of New York’s Prayer Vigil for Life at St. Patrick’s Cathedral Saturday night, as members of the activist group New York City for Abortion Rights chanted insults and screamed vulgarities at them.

“Go to h*** b****,” one protester screamed at a churchgoer. Multiple other demonstrators screamed “F*** you” and made obscene gestures as a range of people from young children to elderly men and women exited the midtown Manhattan church. 

In addition to the vulgarities, demonstrators chanted “Shame,” “Thank God for abortion,” “Go home fascists, go home,” and “New York hates you,” along with pro-choice slogans aimed at churchgoers.

Toward the end of the protest, pro-abortion slogans including “God loves abortion,” and “Abortion forever” were illuminated up on the exterior of the cathedral as demonstrators cheered. On Jan. 20 in Washington, D.C., another activist group, Catholics for Choice, projected pro-choice slogans on the facade of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception during a Mass and Holy Hour on the eve of the March for Life.

Approximately 100 demonstrators attended the New York City rally, which organizers dubbed “F*** the March for Life” in an Instagram post. Many of the participants used drums, shakers, and other noisemakers, which were audible to those inside the cathedral.

The Prayer Vigil for Life marked the 48th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 decision that legalized abortion nationwide. In accord with the U.S. bishops’ call for penance and prayer for violations against the dignity of the unborn, Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York celebrated the Vigil Mass at 5:30 p.m., which was followed by an hour of Eucharistic adoration.

“When a nation founded on the right to life and the equal protection of law for all life finds such violence to be legal, as it did 49 years ago today in legalizing abortion, boy that’s tragic,” Dolan said during his homily. “That’s not right. That’s not natural. That’s not the way God intended it. That’s not the way our country intended it.”

Nathan Long (in white cap) and his teenage son have a brief interaction with one of the demonstrators at a pro-abortion rally outside St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City on Jan. 22, 2022. Joe Bukuras/CNA
Nathan Long (in white cap) and his teenage son have a brief interaction with one of the demonstrators at a pro-abortion rally outside St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City on Jan. 22, 2022. Joe Bukuras/CNA

Among those who were screamed upon exiting the vigil were Nathan Long and his teen-age son. The two had a brief interaction with one of the demonstrators.

“I looked at him and I was just kind of praying,” Long told CNA afterward. “He’s just uninformed and I think he’s lost the spirit of Christ.”

Long, a father of seven from Dallas, Texas, said he thinks most of the protesters aren’t educated on the issue of life. “We’re living in a society where people just want to pick up the torch and be angry at anything,” he added.

One of the many slogans that protesters chanted at churchgoers was “Stop harassing patients!”

The chant referred to a recurring pro-life day of prayer called Witness for Life, which consists of Mass and Eucharistic adoration, followed by a rosary procession to the nearby Planned Parenthood and then a vigil in front of the clinic. 

The pro-abortion demonstrators on Saturday handed out flyers that state that many attendees at the Prayer Vigil for Life are Witness for Life attendees as well. The flyers claim there is “nothing peaceful” about the Witness for Life.

“They intimidate patients by praying, holding offensive signs, [and] impersonating clinic escorts to coerce patients,” the flyer states.

New York City for Abortion Rights often protests the Witness for Life. The pro-abortion group made headlines in July for standing in front of the rosary procession in order to block their path to the Planned Parenthood. Police officers were required to escort the rosary procession and separate the demonstrators. 

Toward the end of Saturday’s rally, a woman who appeared to be an organizer announced to the demonstrators that the group would be protesting the next Witness for Life event Feb. 5 by slowing down participants’ rosary procession “with our bodies.”

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