ROME — Unidentified vandals desecrated a Catholic church in the northern Italian town of Scandiano, smashing the tabernacle and decapitating the statue of the Virgin Mary, Italian media reported Monday.
The tabernacle was jimmied open, and the consecrated hosts were strewn on the floor along with the sacred vessels and other liturgical furnishings were destroyed, Avvenire revealed.
According to Reggionline, the bishop of Reggio Emilia, Guastalla Massimo Camisasca, personally officiated a special Mass on Sunday in the vandalized church of Ca’ de Caroli, offering prayers for the repentance of the perpetrators.
The bishop firmly condemned the incident but invited the entire Catholic community to forgive those responsible. He also recalled, however, that such an act of sacrilege, from the canonical point of view, automatically entails excommunication if the perpetrators were Catholic.
The local community rallied around the elderly parish priest Father Quirino Bertoldi, who was reportedly strongly