In the last two months, three Catholic parishes in the Archdiocese of Denver have been targeted with extensive vandalism and property destruction that included hateful anti-Catholic messages. This is part of a growing trend both locally and nationally as the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has documented over 100 such attacks since May of 2020.
This week, George Washington High School in Denver was hit with anti-Semitic and other hateful graffiti, and the Denver Academy of the Torah suffered property destruction, both of which are reportedly being investigated as bias-motivated crimes.
Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila, archbishop of Denver, has released the following statement:
“I condemn the recent incidents of anti-Semitic and hateful vandalism at George Washington High School, and the property destruction at Denver Academy of the Torah. These acts have absolutely no place in our society, and we stand in solidarity with our Jewish brothers and sisters. I also want to thank the Jewish Community Relations Council and the Anti-Defamation League Mountain States Region for speaking out recently about the vandalism at our parishes and offering their support.
As brothers and sisters in faith, I acknowledge our common bonds and desire to be able to worship freely without fear of attack or intimidation in its many forms.
We live in a divided and pluralistic society, but acts of violence and hate are never the answer to our differences. I pray for an end to these attacks, heading for the impacted communities, and that God’s love will be known by anyone who feels compelled to commit these acts.
I would also call on our local elected officials to take these acts seriously, to speak out against them and to encourage all citizens to engage with each other civilly.
Finally, we are grateful to the police departments that have responded to these incidents, and to the numerous community members who, regardless of their beliefs, have reached out to our parishes and offered support and help in cleaning up after these attacks.”