New York police are searching for a man caught on camera vandalizing, a statue of our lady of Guadalupe, the statue outside of the shrine church of our lady of solace in Brooklyn, New York suffered damage to the face, hands and base after it was thrown onto the sidewalk. Now, parishioners are raising money for its repairs, Matt hydro senior correspondent.
The Catholic news agency joins me now to talk more about this and other attacks on churches across the U S Matt. Welcome back. Always good to see you. So this was a pretty brazen attack, right? In broad daylight, as cases of vandalism continue across the country. Matt, what else do we know about this incident?
So I spoke with the pastor earlier this afternoon. He said that the suspect has not been arrested yet, that he was apparently involved in other acts of vandalism. Uh, it was a very sad moment for the community. Uh, there was a, um, Mexican population at the shrine that has a deep devotion to our lady of Guadalupe. Um, there were people that were in tears, uh, when they got the news. Uh, there were people that were praying outside the shrine late into the night, the night of the attack. Um, they're hoping to have the statute replaced by December 12th. Uh, the feast of our lady of Guadalupe. It will cost around $6,000 to replace
Matt. What are some of the other cases that you've been following?
Well, there've been a series of attacks on churches all around the country, ranging in scale from, um, attacks on statues, spray painting, a beheading of statues to churches being set on fire. There was a historic mission church in California that was founded by st unit borough, Sierra. That was a devastated by fire earlier this summer. Uh, the attacks have continued into September, as we saw in Brooklyn. Uh, there was another church in Utah that was burglarized twice this week. Uh, so you know, it's, uh, these are a series of attacks and they're continuing
Yeah, really disturbing. I know there's also been developments in El Paso where a suspect is now in custody for the destruction of a statue of Jesus at st. Patrick cathedral this week, Bishop science at the diocese of El Paso urged people to pray for that Vandal. And that's always such a powerful message. Can we talk about that?
Yes, absolutely. You know, he, um, he said that he drew inspiration from praying in front of the statue to the sacred heart before he would offer mass there. Uh, the statue itself is almost a century old and, uh, the dioceses said that it's, uh, you know, valued at, you know, the damage is irreplaceable. Um, the church was actually, uh, targeted in 2019. The FBI was investigating arson at three churches in El Paso and the cathedral was one of those churches. So this isn't the first time
Matt, I'm curious, where do things stand right now in legal punishments for suspects found guilty of these crimes?
So, you know, there are laws on the books. For example, in 2019, there was a former NYU professor who, um, was charged with hate crime, criminal mischief for attacking a church in damaging a statue in New York city. Um, sometimes the FBI gets involved. Um, you know, there have been, uh, FBI investigations as I had just, you know, relayed in, um, such as an El Paso and elsewhere. Uh, there are also been members of Congress that have been acting the, uh, asking the justice department to get more involved here. Uh, they've sent a letter to attorney general BARR from, uh, Congressman Chuck Fleischmann of Tennessee, Senator John Kennedy of Louisiana. Uh, they wrote the attorney general will asking him to, uh, you know, identify and prosecute these attacks when necessary.
Well, Matt, thanks so much for your time and coming on today. We really appreciate it. Matt hydro senior correspondent at Catholic news agency. Thanks again, Matt.