(from the Maywood, California, Police Department and Jeff Allen (Flickr); via catholicnewsagency, used w/o permission)
Looks like the folks in Maywood, California, still don't know why their Catholic school was vandalized. As EWTN News quoted the parish priest-
" 'We still do not know the motivation for this attack of hate. We do not understand the motivations of such people. Maybe they wanted to take part in a satanic ritual. Maybe they wanted to leave a message. Maybe they wanted to offend what is most sacred to us.' "Or maybe 'all of the above.' We just don't know.
From some points of view, it looks like the St. Rose of Lima Parish 'got what they deserved.' They were helping 'those people:' undocumented immigrants.
Thomas à Becket situation. When it's there's a conflict between secular law and God's law - the decision is not easy. Actually, it is: for anybody who has some notion of just how powerful God is. But it's not comfortable.
That said, obeying the letter of the law is prudent.
I'm an American: a Euro-American. My ancestors came to this country because they thought they'd be better off here. Although I'm related by marriage to the Lakota people, I tend to be sympathetic to those who were born elsewhere, but want to live here. Even if they don't look quite like me.
Ah, but what about the law! Well, if I remember my family history correctly: some of my relatives couldn't get into the United States legally. They could, however, get into Canada.
Then, having established Canadian residency, they came south. Technically, they didn't (quite) break any laws. Arguably, though, they violated the spirit of the American laws of the time.
And yet, I have no intention of disowning them.
"Day of prayer to be held following attack on California church"Right now, I don't know enough about what St. Rose of Lima parish is doing to say whether or not they're doing the right thing. I do think that 'those people over there' who are undocumented immigrants/illegal aliens/dirty foreigners/whatever are - people. They've got the same basic needs that I do: and aren't in the position I'm in.
EWTN News (May 28, 2010)
"The faithful of Saint Rose of Lima Church in Maywood, Calif., will hold a day of prayer and reparation after their church was attacked by vandals on May 24. Two unidentified assailants ransacked the school kitchen and desecrated a cross and an image of Our Lady of Guadalupe in an attack that has been described by local police as a 'hate crime.'
"Fr. David Velásquez, pastor of St. Rose of Lima, a parish with many Latino immigrants, said they are not sure if they will restore the image of the Virgin that was stabbed in various parts of the body and face. They are also unsure whether or not they will re-build the crucifix that was turned upside down and burnt before it was broken.
" 'It is safer to leave the church as it is, as a reminder of the attack and as a sign that together we are the body of Christ. Even under attack or hate, we will not give up in our mission to defend our faith and our community,' said the priest...."
"...Accustomed to dealing with violence, Fr Velásquez said he has been 'shot at, the rectory windows have been broken, my license has been taken off me, I have been threatened.' He added that the violence has increased since 2006, when Maywood was declared a 'sanctuary city' for undocumented immigrants.
"Mexican media outlets report that the Church in this area has made many enemies since it began taking an active role in the defense of the immigrant community."
'But they broke the law.' Okay: that's a fact, and it needs to be considered.
On the other hand, that knife in the eye of a picture of Our Lady of Guadalupe doesn't inspire me with patriotic zeal to drive the foreigners from our American midst. Particularly since, not too many generations back: my ancestors were 'those people.'
Maybe the St. Rose of Lima parish was wrong to help the poor who were living among them. But I don't think that stabbing a picture of Mary, burning a crucifix, and trashing a school was a reasonable response.
And I'm not convinced that it was wrong to help 'those people.'
September 24, 2008)
The St. Rose of Lima parish has been helping some of America's very poor residents. These residents are not, apparently, here legally. But I'm not inclined to think that not having the correct government papers is a terribly serious a crime.
Meanwhile, take note: Parishioners of St. Rose of Lima in Maywood, when attacked, prayed. I think other Catholics could profit by studying their example.
- "Anger, Hate, Love, Prayer and Trashing a Maywood, California, Catholic School"
(May 26, 2010)
- "'Those Immigrants,' Assumptions, and the Catholic Church"
(May 18, 2010)
- "The Catholic Church: Universal. Really"
(April 19, 2010)
- "Assumptions About Religion, and American Rules of Etiquette"
(April 14, 2010)
- "Hating People: Not a Good Idea"
(January 22, 2010)
- "The Manhattan Declaration: Hateful? - Who Knew?"
(November 21, 2009)
- " 'I Hate Barack Obama' - Maybe Not the Best Message from a Pulpit"
(September 1, 2009)
- " Vandalism of a heinous nature' "
California Catholic Daily (May 26, 2010)
- "Police seek leads in hate crime at Maywood Catholic Church"
LA Now - Southern California - This Just In, Los Angeles Times blog (May 24, 2010)
- "Police: Vandalism At Catholic Church 'Heinous' "
CBS News (May 26, 2010)
- "Search is on for church hate crime vandals"
ABC7 News(May 25, 2010)
- "Los Angeles Catholic school vandalized, religious items desecrated"
Catholic News Agency (May 25, 2010)
- "Catholic Church School In Maywood Vandalized"
CBS News (May 24, 2010)
- "Human Feces Involved in Maywood Church Vandalism"
KTLA (May 24, 2010)