The Divine Mercy Chapel at St. Mary’s Catholic Church on Court Street in Canton was unlocked when vandals entered the sanctum, stole three antique plaster statues of religious figures and made off with them in a pickup truck.

St. Mary’s Church is locked from dusk to dawn, but the chapel is left unlocked because people need a place to pray, the Rev. Bryan D. Stitt, pastor of St. Mary’s, told the Plaindealer.

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This is the real story behind why protestantism went with a much plainer aesthetic.


Call the incident in Canton traumatizing but don't call it "shocking," implying among things that it was surprising, unexpected, unforeseen, and unpredictable.

Google "Catholic Church vandalism." See the myriad of links to it? Now that's shocking! Catholic church vandalism is a national crisis! What happened in Canton is not inconsistent or incongruent with what's happening across the country today. Since May 2020, across 42 states, 249+ incidents of vandalism have occurred in Catholic churches. Forty percent have occurred since Roe vs Wade was overturned in June 2022. Roe vs Wade, religious intolerance, political ideologies, partisan politics, and societal problems (poverty, mental health, drugs, homelessness, etc.) are among the factors recognized as contributing to the vandalism. Since the institutional Church recognizes these contributing factors, surely it recognizes how its sex abuse crisis and cover up, misogyny, LGBTQ stance, engagement in the culture wars, withholding of communion from politicians, etc., has or can provoke outrage, resulting in vandalism. The Catholic Church and its churches are extremely vulnerable today!

The Conference of Catholic Bishops are aware of the vandalism crisis. Presumably, Bishop LaValley and Fr. Stitt are aware too. Why aren't they talking about it? Why aren't we reading about it in this editorial? Why are we only reading about the trauma? In view of the crisis, why aren't all Catholic churches in the diocese secured in a manner that strikes a balance between security and accessibility? Why aren't church-valuables protected or removed? Do parishioners know about the national vandalism crisis? The Church has a duty to inform and protect them, regardless of whether it taints the image of the Church or affects church attendance and giving.

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