Vatican News reports witnesses saying that a hooded man entered the Chapel of the Blood of Chris, Managua on Friday and threw a Molotov cocktail. The petrol bomb started a fire that engulfed a 400-year-old crucifix housed in the chapel. The blaze was brought under control fairly quickly, and no one was injured. But the attack has left a deep wound on Nicaragua’s Catholic community.
The Archdiocese of Managua released a statement on Friday, calling the attack a “premeditated and planned act, carried out by someone with experience in this field.” The crucifix was completely destroyed in the fire, which the statement says was “in no way accidental, since there were no candles nearby.” This was a “deplorable act” which “offends and deeply wounds” all Catholics because the damaged crucifix was “one of the most loved and venerated by the faithful of Nicaragua.”
The Archdiocese said the attack is just the most recent “in a series of sacrilegious acts, violations of Church property, and attacks on churches.”
These events are “nothing more than a chain of events that reflect hatred of the Catholic Church and her work of evangelization. The attacks against the Catholic faith require in-depth analysis, to clarify the intellectual and material authors of this macabre and sacrilegious act.” Finally, the statement urges Catholics to respond with faith “to the feeling of pain and helplessness we are suffering.”
Vandalism and attacks against Catholic churches in Nicaragua have seen an uptick recently. Consecrated Hosts have been desecrated. Monstrances, offerings boxes, and statues have been destroyed. Stereo equipment and other Church property have been stolen. The situation represents a growing climate of violence and intimidation against Catholics.