A string of attacks on Catholic shrines has damaged pews, statues. Police doubt the incidents are related.
They usually come under the shroud of darkness, late at night when no one is around, and approach the shrines as assailants.
They leave behind relatively minor physical damage — hands dislodged from a wooden statue of the Virgin Mary, or statues toppled into pools. They defaced walls in one instance and burned a church pew in another.
But the insult runs deep, scarring the souls of the faithful.
“It’s become an issue,” said Father Richard Kennedy, pastor of St. Barbara’s Catholic Church in Santa Ana, one of three Orange County parishes that have endured a string of apparently unrelated vandalism attacks in recent weeks. “Different [parishioners] come up and say they want to pay for surveillance and stuff like that. They get pretty upset.”
Vandals have struck at St. Callistus Church in Garden Grove, causing minor damage by setting fire to a pew, and at St. Barbara’s and Our Lady of La Vang in western Santa Ana, where icons and statues have been damaged or stolen.
Police and church officials believe that the incidents are unrelated and that each church’s problems are isolated. They do not consider them hate crimes.
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