Report from EWTN
Heart-breaking vandalism desecrates four churches in Rome
A 39 year old Ghanaian national has been arrested for attacking four churches in Rome and vandalising many priceless sacred statutes, including some 300 years old. The perpetrator attacked sacred art in the 9th-century Basilica of Santa Prassede, near Saint Mary Major, the church of San Martino ai Monti, and the Basilicas of San Giovanni de' Fiorentini, on the Via Giulia, and San Vitale, on the Via Nazionale.
At about 19:30 on the 30th September the parish priest of San Martino ai Monti reported to the police that a man had damaged a statue of the Madonna and infant Jesus. Shortly afterwards, the parish priest of the Basilica of Santa Prassede reported to the police that a man had damaged two statues, one of Saint Anthony of Padua and the other of Saint Prassede. Then on the morning of 1st October the police received reports of attacks on the Basilicas of San Giovanni de' Fiorentini, on the Via Giulia, and San Vitale, on the Via Nazionale. At these two churches the man attacked statues, candlesticks and crucifixes, while protesting that "it was not right that we worshipped in this way."
The police arrested the perpetrator at Ripetta, in the centre of Rome, and charged him with religious hatred and insulting religious institutions. He is being held in Regina Coeli prison.
It is alarming that violent attacks such as these on churches in Rome are occurring more frequently across Europe according to reports documented on the Observatory on Intolerance and Discrimination against Christians in Europe. The perpetrators of these attacks are more often than not motivated by secularism, feminism, LGBT ideology or Islam. At the present time, it is unclear what motivated the 39-year-old Ghanaian to attack four churches. However, the fact that he has been charged with religious hate crime suggests the authorities have concluded that his actions were not the result of mental illness.