Toronto, ON November 23, 2021 – The CCRL has launched a Church Attacks Database, accessible from www.ccrl.ca which catalogues attacks against Catholic churches in Canada ranging from the breaking of stained-glass windows, to acts of desecration and church burnings, as witnessed this summer and reported in releases on June 22, July 1, and July 30.
Currently, there are 153 individual entries covering attacks from 2010 through 2021. In any given year, acts of vandalism and desecration increased during Christmas and Easter, but by far, 2021 has featured the highest number of total attacks, far more than in any other year. The period from May through August of 2021 alone has had more attacks than in any other period.
The surge in attacks against churches this summer follows reports of discoveries of communal graveyards on properties of former residential schools. There have been no indications that these attacks have been carried out by indigenous people and indigenous leaders were quick to condemn these acts of violence. Indeed, there were churches burned down on indigenous land and those serving indigenous Catholic communities.
The CCRL noted how many non-indigenous Canadians were quick to accuse the Church of genocide but were much slower to acknowledge that many of these graveyards were known, and in many cases were the subject of compensation for upkeep and maintenance from local dioceses.
The League first announced the Church Attacks Database in September 2020, long before the discoveries of this past summer, but we contend that during this period, there has been a lack of reporting of the outright vandalism and violence inflicted to our churches by non-indigenous Canadians, enemies of religion and intolerant of expressions of faith.
There have been 57 reported attacks on Catholic Churches in 2021, though the League suspects that there are many more that have been unreported. The CCRL database includes a feature whereby Canadians can report church attacks in their communities so that they can be counted in the database, or so that existing entries may be enhanced with photographs and eyewitness accounts.
The CCRL is providing Canada’s only nationwide database that tracks and records attacks against our churches and other Catholic properties. We also wish to maintain a record of arrests and convictions from such attacks.
It is within our mandate as Canada’s only lay group committed to defending the Church from anti-Catholic defamation, and indeed anti-Catholic violence.
We appeal to those of you who are financially able to help us in our mission by sending a donation to the CCRL by clicking here or by mailing a cheque to the CCRL at 2305 Bloor Street West, Toronto, ON, M6S 1P1, or by calling the office at (416) 466-8244 or 1-844-722-2275 (CCRL).
About the CCRL
Catholic Civil Rights League (CCRL) (www.ccrl.ca) assists in creating conditions within which Catholic teachings can be better understood, cooperates with other organizations in defending civil rights in Canada, and opposes defamation and discrimination against Catholics on the basis of their beliefs. The CCRL was founded in 1985 as an independent lay organization with a large nationwide membership base. The CCRL is a Canadian non-profit organization entirely supported by the generosity of its members.
To donate to the CCRL, please click here.
For further information:
Christian Domenic Elia, PhD
CCRL Executive Director