CNA Newsroom, Jan 27, 2023 / 15:56 pm (CNA).
Wise men were decapitated, animals scattered, and Mary, Jesus, and Joseph were missing from a Nativity scene at St. Patrick’s Co-Cathedral in Billings, Montana, after vandals destroyed the statues the night of Jan. 16.
The incident was similar to another that occurred at Mary Queen of Peace Catholic Church on the city’s south side that same night. Three statues and some paintings were stolen there, artwork of Our Lady of Guadalupe was damaged, and graffiti such as “Mary is the whore of Babylon” was written on the walls.
Two other non-Catholic churches were also vandalized the same week. It is not clear if the crimes are connected, but the pastor of one of the churches, Central Christian Church, said he doesn’t think they’re related, KTVQ/Q2 News reported.
Police estimated the stolen items at Our Lady Queen of Peace were worth about $8,300. Damage done to the front door of the church and by the graffiti was estimated at $4,000, according to KTVQ/Q2 News.
Father Jose Marquez, parochial administrator of Our Lady Queen of Peace, called the perpetrators “mentally, emotionally sick.”
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A ‘hate crime’ at Montana Catholic churches? Some think so – Catholic World Report