As Mary Chastain noted in her report covering the fire at Notre Dame Cathedral, Catholic Churches across France have been attacked over the past few months.

And while the cause of the fire at the famous cathedral appears to be related to an elevator’s faulty electrical system, other churches have been attacked and sacred sites desecrated. In February, 10 churches were hit< in one week alone/a>.

In early February, in the Church of Notre-Dame-des-Enfants in Nimes, near the Spanish border, intruders drew a cross on a wall with excrement then stuck consecrated hosts to it.

The tabernacle was broken and other consecrated hosts were destroyed, prompting Bishop Robert Wattebled of Nimes to issue a statement Feb. 8 to say that the desecration was so severe that the church building could not be used until penitential rites of purification had been carried out.

In the U.S., several Catholic churches across the nation have also reported acts of vandalism. Many of these incidents have occurred in late March of this year.

Boston-area police are investigating a series of attacks on church statues.

Police are investigating a string of vandalism attacks targeting Catholic churches following the latest incident Wednesday night at St. Gregory’s in Dorchester, where a Virgin Mary statue was reportedly tagged by a red substance.

The statue has reportedly been vandalized four times in the past month. Police say they’re “actively reviewing the facts and circumstances surrounding these incidents.”

The incident follows two similar incidents of vandalism March 11 and 13, when officers responded to calls at two churches in Hyde Park. On March 11, a statue at the Most Precious Blood Church at 25 Maple St. was also vandalized by a red substance, and two days later another red substance was observed on a statue at St. Anne’s Church on 90 West Milton St.

The string of church vandalisms also follows two other separate incidents in March, where law enforcement statues appeared to be targeted.

In early April a Connecticut church was hit.

A vandal broke a statue at Basilica of Saint John the Evangelist in Stamford late Saturday night.

. . . . The congregation was left outraged and in disbelief.

“I really am disheartened about the lack of respect for the church that some people show without expressing any kind of conscience. It’s just unconscionable,” says worshiper Bill Lasko.

In late March, police released surveillance camera images of a vandal who used a baseball bat and rocks to damage windows at Holy Family Catholic Church in Ohio.

On the West Coast, there appears to be a vandal targeting Catholic churches in Pomona Valley. The latest hit was reported in late March at Saint Margaret Mary’s Church in Chino.

[O]n March 30, a vandal trespassed onto the property and delivered a blow that severed the statue in two.

“It’s like a clean cut,” Hacker said.

The damage made the church recall a strikingly similar crime at another local Catholic church.

“That’s why I’m thinking it was a sledgehammer like they used at Our Lady Lourdes,” Hacker said.

Just a month ago and three miles away in Montclair, a person was caught on camera hopping onto a planter at Our Lady Lourdes Catholic Church and using what appeared to be a sledgehammer to hack the heads off two of their statues.

“Definitely trying to make a statement,” Hacker said.

Saint Margaret Mary’s Church thinks the same person is responsible for both crimes, and now they wonder if the same person destroyed their double pane stained glass window last month.

“It’s a picture also of Mary that was just shattered by a huge, huge stone,” Hacker said.

The Vienna-based Observatory of Intolerance and Discrimination Against Christians in Europe indicates that much of the French vandalism is believed to have been the work of secularists, feminists and other anti-religion groups. Perhaps that is the case in the U.S. as well?

This Easter, I will pray for all the damaged churches and for the comfort of their parishioners.