On Monday, Diocese of Knoxville Bishop Richard Stika announced that the statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary on the grounds of Saint Stephen Catholic Church in Chattanooga was knocked over and beheaded.

Pastor of the parish church Father Manuel Perez was walking the church grounds Saturday morning when he found the statue knocked over with the head missing. About five feet tall, the statue is worth two thousand dollars. The case has since been forwarded to the Department of Homeland Security by the police citing a possible hate crime.

“Father Perez said that he looked around the church grounds to see if he could find a missing head and he couldn’t locate it.”

Diocese of Knoxville Director of Communications Jim Wogan responded to the vandalism in a statement:

“Anytime something like this happens it is disappointing and concerning. We don’t know if this was the targeted desecration of a sacred statue, or some kind of misguided prank, but it hurts. For whatever reason we are living in a very chaotic time and anger seems to be the default setting for people. Our bishop has asked that we live by the example set in the Gospel of Matthew, to treat others as we ourselves would want to be treated.”

Tennessee Congressman Chuck Fleischmann also tweeted about the vandalism:

The beheading in Tennessee was one of three attacks on the Church last weekend: an Ocala, Florida parish and a mission founded by Saint Junipero Serra in California were also vandalized by arsonist setting them ablaze.

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  1. Lord God Almighty, cure the world of the need to cause damage to property through vandalism and theft. Especially sacred buildings and statuary that have been blessed to act as sacramentals for the Faithful. Some ignorance is mere rebellious mob mentality and some is ignorance of enemies to Catholicism and papal authority. It’s bad enough that I was asked to tuck my Crucifix into my clothing while at work to keep it from possibly offending customers (no longer an employee), but thousands of dollars needed to repair churches and statues cannot begin to repair the offences against the most Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary. May we all do our part to offer sacrifices and mortifications and reparation for these misguided misinformed lost souls. They know not what they do. Saint Joseph, protect us, and our visible devotions to the Holy Family. Amen.


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