Police in San Antonio are investigating vandalism at a seminary, the Archdiocese of San Antonio told the Daily Caller in a statement.
Assumption Seminary’s glass doors were struck and damaged and a crucifix on the property was desecrated, with a Spurs jersey wrapped around Jesus’s head and Christ’s feet destroyed, a resident told the Caller and The Tower. The Archdiocese said in a statement that the San Antonio Police Department are searching for a suspect.
“Last night at some point between 10 p.m. and 11 p.m. I was sitting in my room working on Latin homework and I heard commotion in the hallway,” Alexander Jacobs, an aspirant who lives in the Discernment House of the seminary, told the Caller. “I asked what’s going on, and they said the building had been attacked.”
“We went downstairs and when I saw the damage to the doors it looked like gunshots at first glance, but we found it was some sort of hammer or weapon used to destroy the doors,” Jacobs said.
A crucifix located on a central part of the property by the main chapel where the seminarians have Mass and pray was also vandalized.
“That’s the most important crucifix on the ground,” Jacobs said. “They smashed Jesus’s feet so his feet are broken. His head was covered with a black Spurs jersey they draped over his head.”
San Antonio Police confirmed to the Daily Caller that there is an active investigation into the incident. A police spokesperson said that someone had seen an unknown male walking through the Archdiocese of San Antonio’s property swinging an object, and then saw the suspect randomly swinging the object and hitting several doors, causing the panels to break, and then striking the statue. An officer collected a jersey possibly dropped by the suspect at the crime scene.
The Archdiocese said that no one was injured, and clean-up and repairs were underway Friday morning.
“First and foremost, all of our seminarians and all the people at the seminary are safe,” Father Hy Nguyen, the seminary rector, said. “We ask for your prayers for this misguided person, and for the safety of the Assumption community.”
The vandalism occurred a night before Republican Indiana Rep. Jim Banks called on the Department of Justice to investigate “increases in Catholic hate crimes and vandalism” in the United States.
“Bigoted criminals are threatening Catholics and undermining America’s core ideal of religious liberty,” Banks told the Daily Caller News Foundation (DCNF) Friday morning. “The DOJ’s Civil Rights Division exists to combat spikes in targeted violence. It needs to fulfill its duty, determine who is behind this pattern of attacks and bring them to justice.”
Banks’ request follows letters sent by two other congressmen — Tennessee Republican Rep. Chuck Fleischmann and Louisiana Sen. John Kennedy — to the Department of Justice, addressing the “disturbing trend” of attacks against Catholics through the summer months.
“Catholics are under attack in America. That is a sentence I hoped I would never have to write, but it is the reality we are facing,” Kennedy wrote in a letter to Attorney General Bill Barr in August.
“Since the start of the street protests beginning in May, too many accompanied by riots, there have been at least nineteen attacks on Catholic Churches, statues, businesses, cemeteries, parishioners, and personnel.”
Roughly a week before the incident in San Antonio, police detained a man who allegedly walked into St. Patrick’s Cathedral in El Paso and destroyed an almost 90-year-old statue of Jesus. A few days prior, a man was arrested in Louisiana after causing extensive damage to Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church in Tioga.
In New York City, police searched for a man who was caught on video Sept. 11 destroying a statue of the Virgin of Guadalupe outside a Catholic Church in Brooklyn. (RELATED: Man Caught On Video Destroying Statue Of Virgin Of Guadalupe At New York Catholic Church)
“There has been a significant increase in the desecration of Catholic Churches and statues,” Jacobs told The Tower. “Statues of Mary have had their heads chopped off, statues of Jesus have been destroyed, and the Lord Himself present in the Most Holy Eucharist has been desecrated. The next thing is for them to attack the clergy themselves.”
Jacobs told the Caller that he was praying for the individuals involved in these incidents, and for the person responsible for the attack on his home at the seminary.
“This is an outrage. It should be an outrage to Catholics everywhere that this stuff is happening,” Jacobs said. “Although this is an outrage, I definitely feel bad for whoever did this because they’re putting their soul in grave jeopardy. I hope and pray for their repentance and conversion.”