Holy Land Christians frustrated by lack of legal action against vandals
Christians in the Holy Land, including Catholic leaders, have expressed frustration with lack of legal action against cases of desecration and vandalism of sacred places.
Even as the Assembly of Catholic Ordinaries of the Holy Land issued a statement condemning the 20th September desecration and vandalism of a Catholic shrine in Israel, some people criticised the statement’s ‘weak language’ and asked, ‘How long will we be tolerant?’
‘Unfortunately, in these situations we feel how vulnerable we are,’ one person wrote on Facebook.
The latest incident took place on 19th September at St Stephen Church inside the Beit Jamal Salesian monastery west of Jerusalem. The monastery is open for visitors and generally has good relations with its Jewish neighbours, including the residents of an ultra-Orthodox town, said Salesian Fr Antonio Scudu, caretaker of the church. Pilgrims to the church discovered the vandalism, which included a shattered statue of Mary, broken faces of figures on the stained-glass windows, and a destroyed cross.
“I was shocked,” said Fr Scudu. “I didn’t expect to see something like this. The church is always open. If you see what happened, you feel they did it with hate. They smashed everything.”
Picture: A shattered statue of Mary and the Christ Child is pictured inside St Stephen Church in the Beit Jamal Salesian monastery near Jerusalem on 26th September. (CNS photo/Debbie Hill).Tags: desecration, Holy Land, vandalism