Calgary Police’s hate crimes unit is investigating after at least 11 churches were vandalized in the lead up to Canada Day.
Between Wednesday night and Thursday morning, churches across Calgary were vandalized with paint. In one instance, the church was broken into so paint could be thrown inside.
The vandals used paint to write various statements referencing the apparent discovery of unmarked graves found at former residential schools such as “215.” The vandals also targeted the church, painting phrases such as “charge the priests.”
At another church, a statue of Jesus was defaced with red paint.
The vandalized churches are:
Saint Bonaventure Catholic Church at 1600 Acadia Dr. S.E.
Saint Elizabeth of Hungary Catholic Church at 819 13th Ave. S.W.
Saint Mary’s Cathedral at 219 18th Ave. S.W.
Sacred Heart Church and Columbarium at 1307 14th St. S.W.
Grace Presbyterian Church at 1009 15th Ave. S.W.
Saint Luke’s Parish at 1566 Northmount Dr. N.W.
Holy Trinity Church at 1525 45th St. S.E.
Saint Anthony’s Catholic Parish at 5340 4th St. S.W.
All Nations Full Gospel Church at 1403 8th Ave. S.E.
Saint Joseph Catholic Church at 640 19th Ave. N.W.
Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Ukrainian Catholic Church at 704 6th St N.E.
In a statement, Calgary Police Services (CPS) went to great lengths to explain how they sympathize with the vandals, but added that attacking churches is not an acceptable response.
“We also all need to join together as a community to come to terms with our past and find a path forward to reconciliation,” the statement reads.
“Vandalism like this is not just illegal; it serves to create further division, fear and destruction in our city. We need to find the people responsible, both to hold them accountable and to prevent further divisive incidents.”
Over the past two weeks, churches across Canada have either been torched or vandalized as presumed-retribution for the Catholic Church’s involvement in the residential school system.
Earlier in the week, three churches in Alberta were victims of suspected arson, two of which were on First Nations land.
On Wednesday, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney strongly condemned the church attacks, calling them a hate-motivated attack on Christians.
CPS’ hate crimes unit is investigating. Anyone with information on the vandalism is asked to call CPS at 403-266-1234 or contact Crime Stoppers.