When I first heard about the defacing of the statue of Our Lady of Fatima at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington D.C., I assumed it was done by a mentally disturbed person. After all, who in their right mind would do such a thing?
Then, I visited the statue and looked more closely. It is completely intact except for blows done to Mary’s face and both of her hands are missing. In fact, the security video shows the man who was masked climbing over the fence with a hammer. He attacked the face and stole the hands. This does not look random.
The face of a person expresses most clearly the person. The beauty of Mary, as Ark of the Covenant, radiates the Divine presence. This is a torment for Satan and his minions. Moreover, the hands are the visible instruments of the person, carrying out the will of the person. In this case, Mary most perfectly does God’s will. Her continued action in the world “crushes Satan’s head” and confounds his destructive rage.
Followers of Satan use sacred objects of the Catholic Church in a blasphemous manner in their rituals. Most notably, the followers of Satan steal a consecrated host and desecrate it in their Black Mass. It is more than likely that these hands of Mary’s statue will be desecrated in a Satanic ritual.
The reaction of the Rector and leadership to the vandalism was exemplary: “We pray for the perpetrator through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary….”* From May of 2020 until October of 2021, the USCCB reported 100 incidents of vandalism against the Church. We pray that all who perpetrate such evil would turn away from the darkness and find salvation in the light of Christ.
I am appalled and saddened at the increasing number of people who are practicing witchcraft, Wicca, and Satanism. But the words of Scripture echo in my heart, “The gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Mt 16:18).
*The Shrine intends to dispose of the desecrated statue appropriately and replace it.