- (Photo: Monsignor John S. Mraz)
The face of a statue of Jesus Christ at a Roman Catholic church in eastern Pennsylvania was burned off in an incident on Sunday. The church has been targeted before.
The incident occurred at St. Ann's Catholic Church in Emmaus on Sunday morning before mass, when Monsignor John S. Mraz, the church's pastor, noticed that the statue of Christ at the patio surrounding the church had been set on fire.
"It's probably hooliganism – some young adults letting off steam or something. Because if it was something aimed at the Catholic Church, for defense of traditional marriage, I would think they would have lit the statue of Mary rather than Jesus," Mraz told The Christian Post in a phone interview on Monday.
The culprits have not yet been caught and officials have yet to identify a motivation for targeting the church, which is part of the Diocese of Allentown. The pastor noted that the statues of Jesus and Mary have been attacked in the past.
"Both statues have been toppled over several times in the past. The right hand of Jesus has several fingers broken off from one of the topplings. About three years ago, the wall of the church was spray-painted with 666 and other Satanic sayings. There has been nothing that has centered on our parish that I would think would prompt this type of response."
Mraz offered that the person who sprayed lighter fluid on the statue and set it on fire might have thought it was made out of concrete, but it is actually made out of resin.
"That's why I'm thinking that whoever did it might have been caught by surprise," Mraz added.
The pastor said the church will need to replace the statue, which will cost around $2,000.