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  • Justin Haggerty | The Daily Knight

Arson! Catholic Churches set ablaze in California and Florida

The inside of the San Gabriel Mission church after an early morning fire destroyed the 249-year-old church's roof Saturday, July 11. (John McCoy/Angelus News)

Catholics over the last couple of years have grown accustom to seeing Churches bulldozed in China and burnt in France. Now, the war has come to the United States as we watch the destruction of our statues and shrines, desecration of our chapels, and our Churches set ablaze.

In the last 24 hours, a ring of arson attacks destroyed St. Junipero Serra's San Gabriel Mission Church in Los Angeles, California, FSSP Queen of Peace Church in Ocala, Florida, and a Pentecostal Church in Elkmont, Alabama.

The 249-year-old mission was founded by St. Junipero Serra in 1771, as the Franciscan evangelized the California coast. The church's burning comes only a week after the Archdiocese made the decision to remove a statue of St. Junipero Serra from the property; a call that was made in light of recent protests and riots to remove statues of the saint in California. The archdiocese's move was highly scrutinized as faithful Catholics, including Bp. Robert Barron, have been defending the statue in front of Buenaventura City Hall.

It is clear that the statue's removal didn't extinguish the anger and violent intentions of marxists, who wish to remove Christianity from society. Appeasing your enemy never works.

The burning of San Gabriel Mission Church is under investigation for arson. It should also be investigated as a hate crime.

In Ocala, Florida, the attack was far more sinister and illustrated the left's callous disregard for Christian life. As parishioners of FSSP Queen of Peach Church were preparing for Holy Mass, a man drove a van through the front doors to the narthex. The attacker poured two gallons of gas and set it ablaze. By the grace of God, no parishioner were injured and the fire was successfully contained.

An arrest was made later that evening on July 11th. Stephen Anthony Shields, 24, of Dunnellon, Florida has been charged with attempted murder, arson, burglary, and evading arrest, after he was apprehended by police, as reported by the Catholic News Agency.

Marxism is spreading in the United States and bringing social tensions to boiling point. The hatred for Christianity and all symbols of the Eternal Good will not stop here. Contrary to some prelates' opinions to ignore and appease, the enemy and evil in this country will only become further emboldened by our lack of resolve.

Catholic men and women must be prepared to protect themselves, families, properties, churches, and communities. We are approaching a time a persecution, similar to that of the Reign of Terror in Paris and Red October in St. Petersburg and Moscow.

If you are not waging spiritual warfare, it is time to pick up a Holy Rosary, offer small acts of sacrifice and mortification, and devote time for morning and evening prayers. Beseech the Lord for His divine intervention, and ask all of His angels and His saints to pray with you through the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

In dangerous times like this, when the innocent must be defended per St. Thomas Aquinus' Jus ad bellum, we must also be prepared for temporal warfare.

In Christ Crucified and the Most Victorious Heart of Jesus.

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