I’m sure many have already heard the news, and I want to get a sense of how other Catholics feel about the recent vandalism of the Shrine of the Mexican Martyrs and the mocking of the Catholic faith apparently done by three Mormon missionaries in San Luis, Colorado. The AP article from the Denver Post describes photos that were seen online of the missionaries in action:
The Internet photos showed the three vandalizing the Shrine of the Mexican Martyrs in 2006 and mocking the Roman Catholic faith.
One missionary was seen holding the severed head of a statue.
The head was found and restored.
Another photo showed a missionary appearing to preach from the Book of Mormon inside the Chapel of All Saints. A third photo showed one missionary pretending to sacrifice another on the altar at the Shrine of the Mexican Martyrs.
Members of the parish built the Shrine of the Mexican Martyrs, which has become a tourist attraction. No damage estimate was available.
Should charges of vandalism be sought in this case? Does the humiliation of having the pictures made public suffice as they certainly damage (rightly or wrongly) the reputation and credibility of Mormon missionaries? Does this sort of arguable sacrilege need to be taken to the courts? Is there a “martyr” effect for the Catholic congregants through these crimes against the Shrine and the Catholic faith that is better vindicated through forgiveness and the consequent support of the local community?
Here are the various reports on the subject:
ABC 7 News (Denver): Mormon Missionaires Investigate in Vandalism at Catholic Shrine
The Pueblo Chieftain: Church to Vote on Vandalism Charges
Rocky Mountain News: Vandalism at Catholic Shrine May Bring Charges for Mormon Missionaries
The Salt Lake Tribune: LDS Church Apologizes for “Senseless” Vandalism
Catholic News Agency: Mormon Missionaries Accused of Beheading Statue at Catholic Shrine