This is the latest in a series of anti-Catholic incidents in California the past couple of years including vandalism which read “Kill the Cathlics” on the walls of a Catholic church and the destruction of a 60-year-old statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary dedicated to the memory of veterans.
Have you heard anything about this in the media? Could you imagine if someone had burned down a mosque? Or wrote "Kill the Muslims?" It would be the lede in every news program. The President would hold a press conference, the ladies from The View would cluck their concern, and Anderson Cooper would be reporting from outside a Mosque somewhere. But it's just a Catholic Church that got burned down. It's just a Catholics that people are threatening to kill. It's just Catholic statues being vandalized. So shhhhhh.
Christians all over the globe are suffering terribly and...nothing. Blogs write about it but nowhere else do you see even an eyebrow lifted in concern. Methinks this is all going to get a lot worse before it gets better. -Creative Minority Report
|Photo Source: Woman of Grace|
Suspicious fire destroys Hacienda Heights church, latest in series of crimes against Catholic parishes in CA
News Source: California Catholic Daily - Investigators suspect arson in a fire that destroyed St. John Vianney Church in Hacienda Heights over the weekend.
"The investigators have been quite definitive to me, this was very definitely a deliberate act," Steve Whitmore, a spokesman for the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, told the Los Angeles Times.
The fire, which began shortly after midnight on Saturday, left only a burned out shell where the 5000-member parish’s sanctuary once stood. Various press reports said the blaze caused an estimated $8 million to $10 million in damages. The fire burned for almost three hours before firefighters were able to extinguish it.
“Anyone with information about this incident is encouraged to contact the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department Arson/Explosives Detail, 323-881-7500,” said a statement issued by the sheriff’s department. “If you prefer to provide information ANONYMOUSLY, you may call ‘Crime Stoppers’ by dialing 800-222-TIPS (8477), texting the letters TIPLA plus your tip to CRIMES (274637), or using the website http://lacrimestoppers.org.”
“On Sunday, a hastily rearranged Mass was held at a parish hall on the church property that is typically used for wedding receptions, Bible study and other events,” the Times reported. “More than 1,000 people attended the 10 a.m. gathering, spilling out of the hall. Many lined the walls, while others stood outside, craning their necks to try to hear the service.”
“Bishop Gabino Zavala [an auxiliary bishop of the archdiocese], who lives two blocks away, was awakened by a neighbor pounding on his door just after midnight Saturday morning,” said the Times. “He ran to his front lawn and saw flames shooting 150 feet in the air. He rushed to the church, finding himself alongside priests and parishioners helplessly watching flames destroy the church and the rectory.”
"I was unfortunately here to witness the horror of watching our church go up in flames," St. John Vianney pastor Msgr. Tim Nichols told the Times. "The challenge is not to look backward. It's heartbreaking."
In addition to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s and Fire departments, the fire is also under investigation by the FBI and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
The arson at St. John Vianney Church is the latest in a string of crimes against Catholic institutions across California. In January, a vandal spray-painted the words “Kill the Cathlics” on the walls of St. Boniface Catholic Church in Anaheim and St. Thomas More Catholic Church in Irvine. Beginning in December 2010, Holy Family Catholic Church in Glendale was forced to tighten security measures after a thief repeatedly broke into collection boxes used by parishioners to donate money to the needy.
In November 2010, Holy Rosary Catholic Church in Woodland was victimized by criminals for the fourth time since 2007. Thieves broke into the parish office and stole more than $2000. Just days before Christmas 2009, vandals knocked over and smashed into pieces a 60-year-old statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary dedicated to the memory of veterans outside Holy Rosary. The vandals not only knocked over the statue of the Blessed Virgin, which broke into so many pieces it is considered beyond repair, but also covered the statue in black spray paint. Vandals also entered the church sometime during the same time period and desecrated a Nativity scene, knocking down a 3-foot-tall statue of a shepherd, breaking off its head. The vandals also knocked down Advent candles located at the church’s entrance. A week earlier, someone entered the church and pushed over a statue of St. Joseph, cracking the base of the statue. The vandals stole St. Joseph’s staff in that incident.
In October 2010, someone burglarized the rectory at St. Stanislaus Church in Modesto. The thief or thieves stole a computer sometime over the weekend of Oct. 16-17. In late August, vandals broke into and vandalized St. Stanislaus, breaking a window to gain entrance. The vandal or vandals knocked down four statutes of the Blessed Virgin and desecrated the sanctuary. Among the damaged statues was one from Belgium that was more than 200 years old and is considered irreplaceable. Other statutes knocked down included one of Our Lady of Fatima and another of Our Lady of Guadalupe. A fourth statue of Mary, which was being stored in a back room awaiting placement outside the church was also knocked down. Police said the vandal or vandals also left a trail of blood around the altar, but were unclear whether the blood was a deliberate act of desecration or the result of injuries received by the vandal or vandals when the window was broken to gain entry to the church. A new organ was also knocked over in the August incident.
In late May 2010, vandals broke into and ransacked St. Rose of Lima parish school in Maywood. They scrawled “666” on walls and drove a knife into the face of a painting of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the Maywood-Cudahy Police Department reported. “Further investigation revealed that some of the vandalism was of a heinous nature, and in fact, consistent with a ‘hate crime,’" said the police statement. “The suspect(s) defecated in the auditorium (adjacent to the kitchen area) and wrote ‘666’ on areas of the kitchen, and a cross was displayed in a sacrilegious manner,” police said.
In April 2009, just hours before Easter services were to commence, a vandal or vandals decapitated a statue of the Blessed Virgin outside Santa Monica Catholic Church in Santa Monica. In early January of 2009, vandals spray-painted swastikas and the message “Niederauer, Ratzinger – where is the love” on the front walls of Most Holy Redeemer Catholic Church in San Francisco.
In late October of 2008, a ciborium containing consecrated hosts was removed from a locked tabernacle and stolen during a burglary at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Watsonville. The thieves also stole a safe that had been bolted to the floor containing $44,400 in cash and checks.