Two leaders of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops called for peace Monday amid a rising number of attacks on Catholic parishes and pro-life pregnancy centers.
“For two years now, Catholic churches have been attacked and vandalized at an alarming rate,” Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York and Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore said in a statement. “Only rarely have the motives been clear; when they were, it was often opposition to the Church’s teachings on life in the womb,” they said.
Cardinal Dolan chairs the conference’s Committee on Religious Liberty, while Archbishop Lori is chairman of the Committee on Pro-Life Activities.
The two leaders noted an increase in violence since the May 2 leak of a draft Supreme Court opinion suggesting that the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that created a national right to abortion might be overturned.
“Since the leak, charities that support pregnant mothers in need have been firebombed, and pro-life organizations have been attacked almost daily and terrorized, and even the lives of Supreme Court justices have been directly threatened,” the church leaders said.
“We urge our elected officials to take a strong stand against this violence, and our law enforcement authorities to increase their vigilance in protecting those who are in increased danger. We thank those who have already done so, and we encourage them to continue,” they said.
The Washington Times reported last week that a number of pro-life pregnancy centers and churches have been firebombed, attacked and vandalized in advance of the high court’s ruling.
The bishops conference reported that “at least 134 arson and vandalism attacks on churches in 35 states and the District since May 2020,” The Times reported.
“The Catholic Church has a long history of service to those who are most vulnerable, including both mother and child, and remains the largest private provider of social services in the United States,” Cardinal Dolan and Archbishop Lori said Monday.
“Above all, each of us must choose the path of peace and open our hearts to the love that God has for his children,” they said.