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Virgin Mary statue set on fire at Dorchester church

Boston Police report somebody lit a statue of the Virgin Mary on fire at Saint Peter Parish Church, 284 Bowdoin St., shortly before 10 p.m. on Saturday.

Officers spoke with members of Boston Fire Department Fire Investigation Unit who stated that an unknown suspect had set fire to plastic flowers, which were in the hands of the statue, causing the face and upper body of the statue to be burned.

Anybody with information can contact C-11 detectives at 617-343-4335 or the anonymous tip line by calling 800-494-TIPS or by texting TIP to CRIME (27463).

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Comments

Humans are extremely uptight, on edge, angry.

Everybody needs to take a few deep breaths and relax, maybe ice cold cup of water, breathe some more and find a quiet place.

GOD HAVE MERCY ON HUMANITY?

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Voting closed 16

Was white and an oppressed woman.
Joseph was a prick...
Jesus wasn’t a Union carpenter.

When all the boomers have been wheeled out to the bird feeder there will be a lot more of this.

Milton’s Humanist understands our pain. Tell it to ‘em...he’s just frothing to help.

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Voting closed 15

Even as a non religious person I can appreciate mythology, folklore, untenable values, ideals, zealots and even collection plates.

Leave Mary alone.

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Voting closed 99

A non-religious friar.

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Voting closed 16

No matter what your feelings are on the recently enriched by PPP Catholic Church, this is a hate crime pure and simple.

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Voting closed 99

The Catholic Church employs a lot of lay people who help a lot of people. Especially now that people are in need of help. Teachers, nurses, translators etc. They applied for the money and were approved for the money. What is the problem with them getting the money?

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Voting closed 23

Maybe asshole kids vandalizing stuff the way asshole kids have always done? Maybe it’s one of the 1,000+ survivors of abuse from the criminal cover-up of pedophile priests?

Not so simple.

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Voting closed 34

Next time someone spray paints a mosque or synagogue and I will chalk it up to asshole kids or a sex abuse victim and I’m sure everyone’s reaction will be the same. Yup. Absolutely the same. Sure thing.

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Voting closed 101

What information are you using to determine the motive or intent here?

Of course anti-Catholic bigotry exists. But do you really think it’s so much more likely that an anti-Catholic bigot sought out a church on Bowdoin St to vandalize the Virgin Mary than it would be if someone was like “I dare you to set those flowers on fire and film it!” or “let’s put fireworks in those flowers and see what happens”? Run-of-the-mill vandalism happens way more often around here than overt anti-Catholic vandalism or violence does.

Certainly this vandalism should not happen. And if hate is involved, I hope the vandals get what they deserve. But this reminds me of the time a CT town found “MS-13” painted on cemetery headstones and residents thought they were facing a gang invasion when the vandalization was perpetrated by punk White teenagers trying to be edgy.

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Voting closed 30

Nothing is a hate crime until proven so?

To be fair to you, there was an incident a few years back where a black homeowner In the South End was horrified to find racist graffiti on her back fence. Interestingly, the phrase spray painted was also the title of a relatively obscure reggae song. Something about being a superstar.

That said, setting fire to the fake flowers being held by a statue of the Virgin Mary hardly looks like a chance thing. Maybe kids being stupid, but they had to know what the statue represents.

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Voting closed 30

Hate crimes have specific intent behind them.

If I spray paint a smiley face on a supermarket, a school, or a church because I like to admire my own artistic handy work, it’s all the same thing - regular vandalism. If I spray paint smiley faces only on several Catholic churches because I want to cause a nuisance to the Catholic community, then we veer into hate territory.

With so little information here, I have an easy time imagining any number of intents/motives for this instance.

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Voting closed 19

And 200 years ago a swastika was innocuous, but now it’s not.

Still, a fire was set. Similar things happened at some chabad houses in the area not too long ago. Could have been innocent, or maybe a hate crime. I’m going to go with you saying they weren’t hate crimes.

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Voting closed 22

Probably just some anti-Catholic mob patrolling - of all places - Bowdoin St in Dorchester looking for plastic flowers to burn on church property and not unsupervised jerk teenagers out of school and out on a hot summer night doing stupid stuff for the lols.

As for the Chabad house, I don’t have an opinion on a let’s-change-the-subject story that I am unfamiliar with. I hope whoever was responsible was caught and punished appropriately.

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so intent means what?

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How does a mentally ill Catholic who murdered two people and wounded 5 more connect to setting fire to a Catholic statue? You tell me what intent means; I see no reason to change the subject to a heinous crime that occurred 26 years ago.

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Voting closed 14

What was their intent? Simple vandalism?

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Voting closed 11

We won’t know until the vandal is caught. Could it be simple mischief? A mentally disturbed individual? A zealous Protestant who objects to perceived idolatry and multi-theism via the veneration of Blessed Mary?

Call me agnostic. I don’t know the intent. I think knuckle-headed behavior or grievance with the teen center is more likely then an anti-Papist hate crime, but that is only a guess in absence of actual evidence. Costello and Waquiot seem to believe hate crime is the only reasonable option and there we diverge.

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Voting closed 13

...and also if there's a history or current environment of people in power propagating suspicion, fear and hate of the victims. I'm not sure when was the last time a president nodded along with a supporter who said "We have a big problem in this country, it's called Catholics", or suggested to a room full of Catholics that they like to buy off politicians. Perhaps you can remind me?

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Voting closed 14

Now I know why.

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I'm not sure if this is your standard childish tactic of "I'm not, YOU are", or if this is your deep-seated denial about the nature of Trump and the Republican Party, or you're just not up on current events. In case it's the latter, I was recounting two incidents involving Donald Trump, only in the original it wasn't Catholics, it was (in order) Muslims and Jews. Now go fetch your own hat, skippy, your brain has overheated.

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Voting closed 14

I acknowledge further upstream that maybe this could be anti-Catholic vandalism. I don’t know what that vandal’s motives were.

But given the locations and it being Saturday night in the summer, the simplest answer is it’s a neighborhood knucklehead making poor decisions to impress friends (or some variation thereof). There is also a teen center there, maybe someone is mad about something that happened there?

But if not that, who do you imagine as a profile of the likely suspect? An ANTIFA member from Cambridge? Someone from a local SDA or AME congregation? A representative from the Satanic Temple? A Black Hebrew Israelite or Nation of Islam member wanting to branch out from anti-Semetism?

I am curious as to who it is that you imagine perpetrated this targeted anti-Catholic act?

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Voting closed 13

parishioners of St Peters.

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I agree with John here - it should be investigated as a potential hate crime just like others of recent note.

Although it would cause UHub to spin off axis if this turns out to be the result of a firework landing in the bouquet.

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I haven’t seen anyone here argue for excluding the proposition that this vandalism is a hate crime.

There are several hypothetical scenarios that are as likely as the next, yet people are implicitly buying the erroneous argument that any vandalism of a religious symbol automatically confers hate crime status on the vandalism. This, I think for some, is an extension of certain people being mad that hate crimes are some how “special treatment” and look for ways that [White people/Men/Heteros/Christians] “can be the victim, too!” as a way of invalidating and trivializing actual hate crimes (see Sean’s comment about condoms being thrown at priests).

Again, anti-Catholic crime is a possibility. Who doesn’t remember the Ursuline Sisters arson in Charlestown? But the likelihood that hate crime is the ONLY reasonable explanation here is faulty logic at best.

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is the closest thing to a mission within the City of Boston. The parish serves a primarily minority and low income population. Catholic Charities operates a youth center in that location which welcomes anyone, regardless of faith, or lack thereof. https://www.ccab.org/TeenCenter

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Voting closed 31

It is what it is. A hate crime.

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Voting closed 69

"It is what it is" translates to arson. A physical object was set on fire.

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if it were a menorah on the front lawn of a synagogue? . . . "Just a bunch of sticks, y'all. Nothing more than that. Just move along . . "

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Voting closed 23

Just what does "it is what it is" mean, if not the simplest reduction of a situation?

"A menorah was burned." --> hate crime

"A menorah was burned. It is what it is." --> arson

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Voting closed 10

So a handful of years back, at NU, the menorah that was put on display each year at ground level (not anymore!) was damaged. It was a big metal one and it had been bent. Hate crime or vandalism?

It ended up being some drunk student who saw a big metal thing to hang off of. Not a hate crime, just stupidity.

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Voting closed 14

The burning of Mary may be more like annual December Baby Jesus thefts than a targeted hate crime. While some Baby Jesus thefts may stem from anti-Christian sentiments, the large majority of times the act is perpetrated by young folks being jerks.

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I could write a long thing about how these are clearly different because of you know *gestures at 2,000 years of history*, but either you know that and have decided to ignore it, or don't and are irredeemably stupid. Either way, it's not worth the time.

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Voting closed 14

Child rape cults that just stole billions from taxpayers are hard to not hate.

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This is about St. Peter’s, not politicians.

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That applied for and were granted funds under a program available to ALL organized religions and other entities, the purpose of which is to provide relief to their employees who pay payroll taxes.

Big difference there.

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"it bugs me so its okay to hate them"

The Catholic church has an odious history, but that's a reason to demand accountability and change the legal structure, not destroy things to make a point.

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Voting closed 17

... shed miraculous tears?

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Back in the very early 90's , I witnessed gay people throwing condoms at priests outside a church in the southend. I don't remember anyone calling it a Hate crime in the media. But to me it was a hate crime. No love was involved.

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Voting closed 34

for centuries the Church and its fathers have been condemning people to hell for something they themselves practice in secret, denying an entire segment of the population its right to love and be loved by the people they are drawn to - conducting their own liaisons behind closed doors - engaging in their own homosexual practices for centuries, while putting people to death for the crime of being gay

but, as I once said to a remarkably limp wristed priest with a persistent lisp who was at the time wearing a fabulous green frock with delightful matching green slippers, at least I have sex with consenting adults, which is more that I can say for a significant segment of the priestly population

let me be clear - there's nothing wrong with with limp wristed, or with lisping, or wearing whatever you want to wear - what's wrong is hating other people, and hypocrisy

the Church should for the rest of its existence beg for forgiveness for the hate crimes it has perpetrated and continues to perpetuate against the children it is its sacred duty to protect, and the unspeakable crimes and hypocrisy it has perpetrated against the LGBTQ people it is its solemn and sacred duty, as Jesus taught us, to love

Sean, you need to go back and reread the teachings of the Master more carefully

he hung out with the most despised, and taught us to love them, and to love each other

if the Church hadn't been busy putting its considerable political and financial weight into preventing people from learning about safe sex for the purely selfish reason that it doesn't want condoms to get in the way of the production of more Catholics, then desperate people wouldn't have had to throw condoms at them to get the Church to pay attention to the fact that people were dying all over the planet as a result of their misguided and selfish political interference in civil education on how to prevent a deadly disease

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Voting closed 26

Hate is ok, if you have a good excuse.

And as for the whole Gay Priest sex scandal.
I strongly belive in the death penalty for them.
Saying it for 25 years, but I live in Massachusetts so no Death penalty for the evil ones.

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Voting closed 15

There was a gay priest sex scandal? That must have gotten swept under the rug while we were all focused on the child sexual abuse scandal.

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Here, Sean is either calling for the execution of Priests simply because they are gay or he is intentionally conflating being gay with being a child rapist.

Either way, take note. Both positions are abhorrent.

If all the people that ‘know’ that the burning of Mary and her flowers was an unequivocal act of hate want to see an overt example of hate speech, see Sean’s comment above.

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Voting closed 20

As far as I know, senior people in the catholic church, knew what was happening and covered it up. Quite a few victims committed suicide. So yes the death penalty is justified.

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Nice dodge.

You call a child sex abuse scandal the “gay priest scandal”, thereby equating consenting adults with child rapists as if pedophiles abusing boys is the same as being a gay man. You know the difference, but you choose bigoted language that lumps gay men in with pedophiles anyway. You are further careful as to not separate out gay priests from the criminal pedophile abusers when you call for the death penalty, basically saying that gay priests who should be executed regardless.

Eat shit and fuck all the way off back to whatever Nazi/Stormfront/Daily Caller message board you came from. And the same to whoever gave thumbs to Sean’s homophobic hate rhetoric.

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Voting closed 20

Was it a hate crime that I was force fed my entire young life that the lesbian lifestyle is a sin and I’ll burn in hell? I think us gay people have a right to be angry.

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Show us on the little doll where a condom injured you.

Now let's take a look at all the ways that the church has killed gay people.

See the difference?

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Just one condom is all it would have taken for us to not have even been subjected to this idiocy in the first place.

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Could it be a miracle? People find religious Statues crying occasionally... who's to say she didn't just self ignite??

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Voting closed 21

But I think the video for Like a Prayer can be left alone.

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The bigotry in these comments is very distressing. With all the talk about equality and understanding on this board the approval and endorsement of attacks on a church are really troubling.

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But just because the statue burned was the Mary doesn’t make it a hate crime.

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