Cleaning crews spent their Sunday removing graffiti on the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Denver, Colorado.

Father Samuel Morehead said the cathedral was vandalized just before Mass.

“It was offensive. I mean, this was either an act by somebody who is mentally unstable, or a true act of hate against Catholics.”

On the brass front doors and stone columns, spray painted in red, some of it read: “Satan lives here,” “Child rapists,” “Jesus Was Here,” “Love Wins,” with other references to hate groups.

During Sunday evening Mass, Father Morehead urged parishioners to show mercy to whoever is responsible.

“‘There will be an act of mercy, forgiveness, turning the other cheek, but at the same time we’re going to say, ‘hate is not OK.'”

The Archdiocese of Denver also released a statement:

“It continues to be troubling to see the increased reports of vandalism at Catholic churches, both across the county and in our archdiocese, and it is certainly unfortunate when our parishes are targeted simply because of our beliefs.

Since February 2020, the Archdiocese of Denver is aware of at least 25 parishes or ministry locations in northern Colorado that have been the target of vandalism, property destruction, or theft. This has included broken windows, damaged and defaced statues, graffiti, attempted arson, vehicle damage, stolen religious items, and other break-ins and thefts. More than 10 incidents have occurred in the last six months.

Some of the incidents have been clearly targeted at the Catholic Church, but not all of them. The number could be higher because some minor incidents are not always reported.

We continue to pray for the conversion of those who carry out acts of desecration against our churches, statues, and religious symbols.”

The Denver Police confirmed they were investigating the crime, but gave no further information on possible suspects.

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