St. Peter’s Chaldean Catholic Cathedral in El Cajon and a Syriac Catholic church nearby, Our Mother of Perpetual Help, were scrawled with pentagrams, upside-down crosses, white power messages, swastikas, and Black Lives Matter messages, according to the cathedral’s pastor, Father Daniel Shaba.
“It reminded me to pray for my brethren in Iraq that are facing persecution. Pray for the criminals who did this,” Shaba tweeted.
As he cleaned the exterior of the cathedral with other members of the parish he told Fox 5 TV news: “It’s very devastating.”
Fox 5 reported that just after deputies with the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department responded to the call about vandalism at the cathedral, they were alerted to another incident at Our Mother of Perpetual Help Syriac Catholic Church.
The attack on the San Diego-area churches was just the latest in a wave of attacks on Catholic churches and icons around the country. The crimes prompted 16 members of the U.S. House, led by Rep. Jim Banks, R-Indiana, to send a letter on Sept. 25 to U.S. Attorney General William Barr requesting the Department of Justice investigate the “outbreak of anti-Catholic hate crimes.”
According to some reports, Banks said, there have been more instances of anti-Catholic violence this summer than the FBI cataloged in all of 2018.
In Florida, surveillance video from Incarnation Catholic Church in a suburb of Tampa released Sept. 22 shows a man lighting several pews on fire Sept. 18. Police are still searching for the suspect. In the Diocese of El Paso, Texas, a suspect has been accused of entering El Paso’s St. Patrick Cathedral Sept. 15 and destroying a statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
There have also been attacks on two statues of Mary in the Diocese of Brooklyn: one on the grounds of Cathedral Prep School and Seminary was defaced with the word “Idol,” and at Our Lady of Solace Church in Coney Island a vandal desecrated the parish’s statue of Our Lady of Guadalupe.