Italian police have arrested a man who desecrated several statues in a Catholic church in Rome over a two-day span.
A man identified as a 39-year old from Ghana, began destroying statures in the St. Praxedes Basilica around 7:30 p.m. on Friday. He immediately destroyed two statues, one of St. Praxedes, and then a Saint Anthony statue.
According to Fr. Pedro Savelli who just finished celebrating Mass at the time, said he initially thought the man was an ISIS attacker. Then, as the man destroyed statues he began shouting that children should not be taught using statues.
When the man attacked a crucifix, the Fr. Savelli grabbed him and stopped him. Many people fled the church, fearing for their lives. Fr. Savelli attempted to hold the man for police, but he managed to escape. The suspect then went to two other churches in the area, St. Silvester and St. Martin’s. He beat on at least one statue, but it is unclear if it was damaged.
On Saturday, late afternoon, the attacked struck again. This time he appeared at San Vitale’s parish in Rome. He desecrated three statues there. Finally, he went to San Giovanni ai Fiorentini church and attacked several statues there. Police apprehended the man shortly afterward.
It is unclear why the man attacked the statues, but he is clearly upset at the Church for its use of the statues. In the Church, statues are used to illustrate the people tremendous faith and significance. 16(); -(?)5*8 The statues are not intended to be idols and are not worshiped. However, they can sometimes be used as focal points for prayer, which confuses those who do not understand.
God Himself ordered the creation of the first statues as embellishments upon the Ark. He also commanded the creation of idols such as a bronze serpent to be used for pardoning those who went astray during their time in the desert.
The church will attempt to repair or replace the statues damaged in the attacks.