Police in Glasgow are investigating vandalism committed Monday at St. Simon’s parish, an attack the archdiocese has called ‘shameful’.
Local police announced on Twitter “significant vandalism was carried out” in the church April 29 between 1:30 and 4 pm.
The Archdiocee of Glasgow called it “a shameful attack on a much loved church,” adding: “Let’s find those responsible and send out the message loud and clear that this kind of action is unacceptable”.
Statues were smashed, religious displays and flowers strewn about, and the sanctuary violated.
The vandalization comes just a few days after anti-Catholic graffiti was sprayed at a bus stop outside Holy Family parish in Mossend, just a few miles north of Motherwell. Windows at the parish school were smashed in last month.
Scotland has experienced significant sectarian division since the Scottish Reformation of the 16th century, which led to the formation of the Church of Scotland, an ecclesial community in the Calvinist and Presbyterian tradition which is the country’s largest religious community.
Sectarianism and crimes motivated by anti-Catholicism have been on the rise in Scotland in recent years.
In Glasgow, Protestant marches have faced rising opposition after a priest was assaulted while one passed by his parish last summer.
An April 2018 poll of Catholics in Scotland found that 20 percent reported personally experiencing abuse of prejudice toward their faith; and a government report on religiously-motivated crime in 2016 and 2017 found a concentration of incidents in Glasgow.