A statue of the Virgin Mary was destroyed yesterday by vandals at the St. Charbel Church in Punchbowl (Australia) -- a suburb of Sydney -- the Catholic News website reports today (January 29, 2015).
The statue -- which has stood inside a glass enclosure outside the church for more than two decades -- was discovered broken in half around 5 a.m. yesterday by church volunteers.
The destruction of the 1.2m statue has left the church community shocked and police are now investigating.
Fr. Joseph Sleiman, church pastor, said: "The community has been deeply affected and shocked by the attack. We would like to state that we strongly condemn any behavior of this nature to our church and any place of worship. Our church is a place of worship and prayer that should be respected by all."