Only Charged with Criminal Mischief, not a Hate Crime - destroyed Sacred Heart of Jesus statue for b
Justin Haggerty | The Daily Knight
Suspect charged with the vandalism of the Sacred Heart of Jesus statue in St. Patrick's Cathedral, El Paso (KVIA and Diocese of El Paso)
UPDATE: Local police on Wednesday, September 16th, identified the suspect arrested in the Sacred Heart of Jesus statue destruction at St. Patrick Cathedral as 30–year old Isaiah Cantrell.
KVIA El Paso reported that Cantrell was charged with criminal mischief and possession of marijuana. There seems to be some misunderstand among local residents of El Paso, as to why Cantrell has not been charged for more severe crimes like vandalism or a hate crime. He was being held Wednesday in the El Paso County Detention Facility on $20,500 bond. Reportedly, but unconfirmed, this is Cantrell's seventh offense in recent weeks.
In a court affidavit obtained by KVIA, police said Cantrell told them the "skin color of the statue was the wrong color." Cantrell reportedly remarked that "Jesus was Jewish and therefore should be a darker skin color."
To our knowledge, there has been no response from the District Attorney of the Western District of Texas or the Federal Bureau of Investigation to investigate the incident as a hate crime. It was only in December, that a man in Ames, Iowa was sentenced to 15 years in federal prison for a hate crime for burning an LGBTQ flag outside of a United Church of Christ.
On another note, the Diocese of El Paso announced that a fund would be established to replace the Sacred Heart of Jesus statue, which was estimated to be worth $25,000. Improving security and renovations in the Cathedral will also benefit from the fund.
Those wishing to donate can call 914-872-8412, or send the donation to Office of the Foundation for the Diocese of El Paso, 499 St. Matthews St., El Paso, TX, 79907.
Statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus at St. Patrick’s Cathedral destroyed in act of vandalism on Sept. 14, 2020 (Courtesy: Catholic Diocese of El Paso)
EL PASO, Texas – KFOX reported that St. Patrick's Cathedral was vandalized Monday and the 90-year-old statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus was destroyed. Over three years ago, while serving in the U.S. Army in El Paso, I recognized this growing hatred against Catholicism and the Church. Seven attacks later, we are still witnessing emboldened hatred and violence against the Faith.
According to the Catholic Diocese of El Paso, a suspect has been taken into custody by the El Paso Police Department. The investigation into the vandalism, which should be considered a Hate Crime, is ongoing. Future updates will be provided.
The desecration occurred around 10 a.m. Monday morning. The statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, which was located above the high altar of the church, was toppled over and destroyed. This is the second attack on St. Patrick's Cathedral, first being broken windows and arson in Spring of 2019.
“I am in shock and we at the Cathedral are heartbroken over such an unexpected situation,” the Rector of St. Patrick Cathedral, Fr. Trini Fuentes, said.
No video has been released of the incident. Since violence has increased against Catholic Churches in 2018 through 2020, many parishes and chapels have installed security cameras in and around the properties.
Bishop Seitz provided a statement, expressing his sadness about the damage caused to the historic Sacred Heart of Jesus Statue:
“This statue is one of my favorite representations of Jesus—his arms open wide in welcome, his heart aflame with love for us. I would often take inspiration from this image as I prepared for Mass. As sad as I am to see a statue attacked and destroyed, I am grateful that it was not a living person. But a statue, particularly this statue, concertizes and connects us to persons and ideals that are not visible to our eyes. They reveal to us realities that are close to us, but unseen. At this point we do not know anything about the person who carried out this assault, but he certainly must be a person who is greatly disturbed to have attacked this peaceful place in our city and this image of the King of Peace. I hope this might be the impetus for him to receive the help he needs. He will be in my prayers. I am devastated at this irreplaceable loss as I know members of this parish community and the whole Church of El Paso will be. In this moment we will reach out in confidence to the One this statue represented and I know he will console us.”
Although a positive consoling message, Bishop Seitz has failed to denounce the rising violence and hateful rhetoric from radical socialists, like Antifa and BLM, in his diocese.
Photos of the high alter in St. Patrick's Cathedral before the vandalism and desecration.
As stated before, this violence is not a new phenomenon in El Paso. Such hateful rhetoric and anti-Christian comments, posts, and discussions on social media and in public demonstrations were prevelant in 2016 and 2017. The enviroment is far worse now.
Like many of America's cities, violence and hateful rhetoric has been on a drastic rise over the past three to four years. This attack is the seventh in a long line of incidents against Catholicism in the boarderland area, while government and Church leaders remain silent in denouncing the left who is fueling these dangerous conditions.
American cities need leaders, who are will to defend the life, liberty, and property of others; but, above all, defend the Church.
In Christ Crucified and the Most Victorious Heart of Jesus.