Pro-Life Displays at Catholic Churches Vandalized

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 24, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Pro-Life Displays at Catholic Churches in Florida and Rhode Island Vandalized

by Steven Ertelt and Maria Gallagher Editor/Staff Writer
March 24, 2004

St. Augustine, FL ( — Pro-life displays in two states have been vandalized. In Rhode Island, an abortion advocate spraypainted a Catholic church’s statue with a message accusing parishioners of being "Nazis." In Florida, hundreds of crosses in a pro-life display at a church were destroyed.

In a scene that has become all too familiar, more than 200 crosses have been uprooted from a 4,500 cross display at the Mission of Nombre de Dios in St. Augustine, Florida. The crosses symbolize the unborn children who die each day as a result of abortion.

The vandals left about 20 wire coat hangers behind, indicating that the vandalism was fueled by pro-abortion sentiment. The coat-hanger is a symbol abortion advocates use to decry the days when abortion was illegal.

"They’re not educated," Al Wolff, the caretaker of the display, told the St. Augustine Record. "They don’t understand. I pray for them."

Meanwhile, in Johnston, Rhode Island, vandals spraypainted a statue of Jesus with the words, "Anti-choice nazis."

A prayer inscribed on the statute reads "Let us pray for an end to abortion."

"It’s just scary," Patricia Pallante, parish secretary, told the Providence Journal newspaper.

Reverend Douglas Spina told the newspaper, "Word travels very quickly in this town. The parishioners are very concerned. They’re saddened."

"To identify the Catholic Church with the Nazi movement is very disturbing," Spina said. "It’s a contradiction to the message of life. I have prayed about this today and the message I received from the Lord is to ask other people to pray for the people who did this."

In Florida, an agency which helps pregnant, unwed mothers, St. Augustine’s St. Gerard Campus, sponsors the pro-life exhibit. The white, 18-inch crosses have been placed at the church each year for the past 16 years.

Wolff decided against calling the police to report the vandals.

"I’ll just pray for them," he told the St. Augustine newspaper. "Some night if they want to come by and talk to me, I’ll be here," he added. The local police department was not aware of the incident, but offered to put additional patrols in the area, if Wolff requested it.

Pro-life exhibits and organizations throughout the U.S. have been the target of pro-abortion vandalism. But such incidents seldom receive a great deal of attention from the mainstream news media.

Just a few months ago, a pro-life billboard in South Venice, Florida promoting a pregnancy hotline was the target of vandals. The baby’s face, phone number, and the name of the church sponsor were covered with paint. A representative from the church classified the vandalism as a hate crime.

Meanwhile, the abortion lobby is using the St. Augustine incident to attempt to smear the pro-life movement.

"The pro-choice movement has been terrorized by the anti-choice movement for over 30 years, including bombings, arson, harassment, and even murders," Kathryn Burton of the Massachusetts Abortion Access Project told the St. Augustine Record. "The coat hanger, however, is a powerful reminder that making abortion illegal will harm women and their health."

Actual medical evidence, however, indicates that abortion can be extremely dangerous for a woman’s physical and mental health, putting her at risk for sterility, breast cancer, depression, and a number of other health problems.

Burton qualified her statements, however, by saying that her group does not support vandalism.

Yet, there are obviously segments of the pro-abortion movement that do support property damage in pursuit of their political agenda.