Unidentified vandals decapitate statue of Virgin Mary, desecrate church and escape


SCANDIANO, ITALY – Unknown miscreants vandalized a Catholic church in Scandiano, a town in northern Italy, destroying the tabernacle and beheading the Virgin Mary statue in late August, according to local reports abroad.

According to news outlet Avvenire, the newspaper of the Italian Bishops’ Conference, the tabernacle was pried open, the sacred hosts were thrown on the floor, and the sacrosanct vessels and other furniture were demolished.

News outlet Reggionline, Guastalla Massimo Camisasca, the bishop of Reggio Emilia, personally conducted a special Mass in the damaged church of Ca’ de Caroli on September 5th, asking prayers for the unknown offenders’ repentance.

The bishop strongly deplored the vandalism but urged the whole Catholic community to offer forgiveness to those who were involved – a tenet associated with the faith. He did remind the congregation, however, that if the culprits were Catholic, such a desecration would inevitably result in excommunication under canon law.

Father Quirino Bertoldi, an elderly parish priest who was apparently shocked by the damage, saw a great show of support from the local community following the incident. On his Facebook page, Father Bertoldi shared a photo of the damaged Mary statue.

The sacrilege is thought to have occurred between August 29th and August 30th, but because the church lacks a video security system and is only open a few days a week, the incident wasn’t discovered until days after the suspected period of the vandalism.

Avvenire’s report on the incident also noted that the motivation was not likely linked to something as simplistic as a robbery; considering the incident’s “brutal fury,” it is more likely that it was motivated by a severe hatred for the church or religion overall.

No suspects have been identified as of this writing.

The incident in Italy is reminiscent of another similar act of vandalism that happened during the summer of 2020 in New York. 

Back in 2020, two statues depicting the Virgin Mary were vandalized in Queens, New York and Boston Massachusetts. The statue in Boston was reportedly vandalized on July 11th, while the one in Queens was said to have been vandalized on the 10th.

According to a Facebook post from the official account for the Boston Police Department, police were said to have responded to a fire reported around 284 Bowdoin Street in Dorchester at about 10:00 p.m. on July 11th, 2020.

When police arrived at the scene of Saint Peter’s Parish Church, they witnessed the statue of the Virgin Mary was set ablaze. According to the post, the following was stated about the sustained damage:

“Officers spoke with members of Boston Fire Department Fire Investigation Unit who stated that an unknown suspect had set fire to plastic flowers, which were in the hands of the statue, causing the face and upper body of the statue to be burned.”

Just the day prior to the Boston incident, the statue of the Virgin Mary at the Cathedral Prep School and Seminary in Queens found itself spray painted with the word “idol” in the early morning hours of July 10th.

Security footage obtained shows an individual approach the statue at around 3:00 a.m. and commencing to apply the letters spray painted on the century-old statue.

Following the incident, the statue was restored to its former glory after work crews were able to clean off the spray paint applied.

Father James Kuroly, who serves as the rector and president of Cathedral Prep, was appreciative for the outpouring of community support in regard to the consensus of outrage with the vandalism:

“Obviously, this tragedy saddens us deeply but it also renews our hope and faith in the Lord as he has shown his goodness in the many people who have already reached out to us.

We are sincerely grateful for the help we have received as well as the prayers. Please continue praying for those who committed this act of vandalism and hatred toward Our Lady and the Church.”

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California ignores Supreme Court rulings, seeks $2.8M in fines against church – calling services a “public nuisance”

(Originally published September 8th, 2021)

SANTA CLARA COUNTY, CA – According to a press release from Advocates for Faith & Freedom, Santa Clara County is attempting to classify a local church as a “businesses” and/or “commercial activity” in an effort to extract fines totaling $2.8 million for “holding unlawful indoor gatherings” during the pandemic.

The press release from August 31st noted the following:

“Local church, Calvary Chapel, has filed a demurrer to dismiss Santa Clara County’s First Amended Complaint which claims the church’s worship services are a public nuisance and seeks 2.8 million in fines.”

The legal back-and-forth between the county and Calvary Chapel began back in June of 2020, when Pastor Mike McClure of Calvary Chapel San Jose and Pastor Micaiah Irmler of Southridge Church of San Jose filed a lawsuit against Santa Clara County over the stay-at-home order issued in May of 2020 that effectively banned indoor worship services.

Within the June 2020 filed brief, attorneys for the church noted the hypocrisy of the county noting that the right to gather in the thousands and protest was a protected activity – but going to church wasn’t:

“The County has publicly acknowledged that the right to attend protests regarding racial injustice is a ‘fundamental right that is critical to the health of our democracy,’ yet it has not acknowledged the fundamental right to attend worship services.”

Come October of 2020, the county turned around and sued the church.

In a December 2020 release from the Santa Clara County Public Health department, it was noted that the suit was filed over the church still having congregants attend services indoor and that a temporary restraining order was placed against the church in November:

“In October, County of Santa Clara County Counsel James R. Williams and District Attorney Jeff F. Rosen filed the lawsuit against Calvary and McClure for repeatedly holding indoor gatherings—often with hundreds of unmasked congregants—that violated the State and County Health Officers’ public health orders. 

The court granted a temporary restraining order (TRO) on November 2, but Calvary and McClure have repeatedly defied the TRO since it was issued.”

Both the church and Pastor McClure were found to be in contempt in December and the church was ordered to pay fines for every instance they had violated the temporary restraining order. Yet, this December ruling came after the Supreme Court already ruled in November that indoor worship services cannot be banned.

And then another SCOTUS ruling came in February of 2021, which specifically addressed that California cannot ban indoor worship services.

Surprisingly, it wasn’t until April that the state finally lifted the limitations in church services after having to face of two SCOTUS rulings finding the mandates to be unconstitutional.

Yet, despite the aforementioned, Santa Clara County is trying to still extract the millions in fines against the church that were imposed under unconstitutional mandates – by way of claiming that the church fell within the scope of a “business” or “commercial activity” when violating the previous mandates.

Tony Black, an attorney representing Calvary Chapel, stated the following about the county’s efforts:

“No matter where you stand politically on the COVID-19 issue, I think all Americans can agree it’s outrageous for Santa Clara County to seek $2.8 million dollars in fines against a church under the classification of a commercial entity.”

“This is especially true when, over the last year, the U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly held it was unconstitutional for the government to prohibit churches from holding worship services.”

Calvary Chapel is asking the court to dismiss the public nuisance claim that Santa Clara County has raised in their complaint, with the church arguing that the county can’t even find a “connecting element” or a “causative link” to the church’s services and harm done to the general public.

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Pastor who resisted church lockdowns gets home broken into, hit with 1,500 death threats

(Originally published July 13th, 2021)

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Pastor Brian Gibson, who owns multiple churches in Texas and Kentucky, came under fire during the pandemic for violating the governors lockdown orders.

Although his message was peaceful, Gibson assisted many other pastors in defying the lockdown restrictions and helped them open their doors to parishioners again.

This made Gibson a large target for those who bought into the government’s claims that the lockdowns were for the “safety” of Americans. 

Gibson and his family have allegedly experienced various forms of harassment, including hundreds of death threats, according to an article by Ella Kietlinska and Joshua Philipp, writing for The Epoch Times.

Gibson said on EpochTV’s “Crossroads” program:

“Just for being a vocal proponent of the First Amendment, just for being someone that supported President Trump, and someone that spoke out actively, I received close to 1,500 death threats. People broke into my house, kicked my gate down, hacked all of our accounts,” 

He went on to say:

“It’s amazing what they can do and how coordinated some of these intimidation rings can really be. I think I underestimated what that would really be until it happened to me.”

Assist News Service reported Gibson and his family were threatened on social media and received intimidating phone calls or mail. It affected his three kids, aged 9 to 15, the pastor said.

Gibson said:

“My kids … weren’t able to go home for over a month. And then … we had to sell that home and relocate.”

In an attempt to escape all of the madness, Gibson said he took his family away to an isolated location in the Rocky Mountains, however people reportedly discovered where they were located, and the harassment allegedly continued while spending time in a park with his family. 

Gibson said:

“I didn’t know if they were going to try to kill me,”

He continued:

“So I went into a convenience store, sent my kids out the back through woods to where we were staying, and I went around the other side of a building—flanked this guy and found out what he was doing there [and] confronted the man.”

When speaking about the double standard that was being imposed when it came to religious gatherings, Gibson said his church in Kentucky ran a drive-thru Easter egg giveaway for kids. The Health Department told the pastor that his church would be shut down if he continued to pass out eggs, Assist News Service reported.

Gibson said the health department took issue with this, despite the fact that there were:

“less than 10 people working, gloved and masked, giving an egg to a kid in the name of Jesus,” 

He continued:

“They’re letting the liquor stores do drive-thru sales. They’re letting the fast food places do that. The Lowe’s is full of people, Home Depot’s full of people, all the big box stores right?” 

He added:

“It blew a fuse in me. I called all the local media [and] told them: ‘I’m going to defy the governor’s orders. Here’s when I want to do it, here’s how I’m going to do it. Have them come arrest me.’ And I was looking to get arrested for Jesus.”

He then started Peaceably Gather and rallied pastors, saying:

“I think the hand of God was guiding me. God called me for that time. And over the course of the next three weeks, 5,000 churches opened up with us.”


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