Over the past years and centuries news reports have been abounding with news on attacks on churches which includes torching, vandalizing and demolishing these sites dedicated to prayers. Among one of the most outstanding and painful events is the horrific fire that engulfed the iconic Paris Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris causing huge devastation that needs long-term reparation. At the time, the world watched on as the cathedral’s spire fell on April 15, 2019, after a fire destroyed the centuries-old landmark. This cathedral, undergoing massive restoration, is the jewel of Gothic architecture as it was built being rebuilt with oak trees from local forests.
As hopes are pinned on the assiduous efforts exerted to restore the glory of this cathedral, reports have been emerging on terrorist acts conducted by saboteurs who have innate grudge designed to set churches ablaze in various parts of the world as if this seems to be the norm of the day.
In Canada, police in the city of Vancouver have noted a marked increase in acts of vandalism against churches since the beginning of June, with 13 incidents including rocks thrown at windows, graffiti, and threats of arson. In the neighboring suburb of Surrey, the Coptic Orthodox Church was destroyed by fire on July 19, just days after an earlier arson attempt failed.
The incidents are definitely premeditated and intentional as they are part of a larger trend of violence against churches in Canada and worldwide. Alas! Twenty-one churches have been set on fire in recent months, with at least ten being completely destroyed. Dozens of other churches have been vandalized or desecrated throughout Canada.
Further reports indicate that fires have engulfed a 163-year-old St. Simon’s Catholic Church in Scotland on July 28. This incident occurred two days after a Catholic priest was attacked by a man wielding a glass bottle as he prayed at a cathedral in Edinburgh, Scotland’s capital city. It was definitely a heinous and cowardly attack on a priest in his place of worship.
In Christianity, the definition of “Church” does not merely apply to buildings; it rather refers to groups of believers. So, for those who deliberately carry out such crimes against heritage and humanity are to be aware that any group of Christians can constitute a holy church wherever they are located regardless of a building erected with stones and wood.
So, why so many churches are being attacked worldwide? The list of attacks on churches worldwide is very long. These churches are merely places designed to glory the Lord, seek His love and mercy, as well as spread the message of tolerance and harmony. These churches have been active in promoting the message of love, peace, stability, well-being, and common living. Prayers and hymns that are said in churches glorify the Lord as well as disseminate the message of compassion and mercy which helps entrench a pacifying atmosphere seeking Lord Jesus’ mastery and guidance.
It is important to recall the contribution of the Catholic Church to the progress of societies. The Catholic Church built thousands of schools and universities worldwide where these educational institutions provide qualified and distinguished education to all people regardless of their religious or ethnic backgrounds. Thus, the Catholic Church has played a key role in providing societies with an elite class of educated people who strive to improve their respective societies based on the sublime education they receive from such refined educational institutions. Furthermore, the Catholic Church built innumerable hospitals in several parts of the world which contribute to providing medical care to millions of those suffering from various forms of illness. The disappearance of these Catholic Church-sponsored institutions would leave several societies in disarray as such services are vital for the progress of people in every walk of life.
With the Catholic Church seemingly like a ship sailing in a sea of gales and strong winds, Lord Jesus will definitely continue to provide protection regardless of any rancorous or evil attempts that might stand in the way. Lord Jesus Christ addressed Apostle Peter saying, “And I tell you that you are the rock, and on this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of Hell will not overcome it.” (Matthew 16:18)
The Catholic Church, enjoying divine care and protection, will continue to sail in perturbed waters yet reach the ports of safety regardless of anything.
By: Munir Bayouk