Catholic Dictionary

Desecration of a Church

The new Ceremonial of Bishops notes that "crimes committed in a church affect and do injury to the entire Christian community, which the church building in a sense symbolizes and represents." Without specifying particular acts, the Ceremonial refers to crimes that do grave dishonor to sacred mysteries (especially to the Eucharistic Species), crimes that are committed to show contempt for the Church, or crimes that are "serious offenses against the dignity of the person or of society" (1070). The diocesan bishop is to decide if such a crime has taken place, and he himself, if possible, is to preside at the "rite of penitential reparation" before any Mass or other sacramental rite (except Penance) may be celebrated.

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Pope Francis' Encyclical Laudato Si'