Anti-Christian graffiti hits Franciscan convent in Jerusalem

Jerusalem, Israel, Oct 2, 2012 / 04:35 pm (CNA).- Vandals sprayed graffiti insulting to Jesus on the walls of a Franciscan convent on Mount Zion in Jerusalem, echoing a similar attack last month and drawing renewed condemnation from Catholic leaders.

The Assembly of Catholic Ordinaries of the Holy Land, a group of the region’s leading Catholic bishops, voiced “full fraternal support and prayer” for the Franciscans and the Christian community in the Holy Land, following the latest attack.

The Hebrew-language graffiti was discovered early on Oct. 2 on the Convent of St. Francis, adjacent to the Cenacle complex, which is traditionally regarded as the location of the Last Supper.

The graffiti derided Jesus and used the phrase “price tag,” a term Israeli extremists use for revenge attacks on Palestinians and Arabs, Agence France Presse reports.

The Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land posted photos of the vandalism on its website, under the title “Once again …”

Israeli President Shimon Peres denounced the vandalism, saying it goes against “the morals and values of Judaism” and does “great harm” to the state of Israel. He added that it is “forbidden” to harm religious holy sites.

The Catholic ordinaries’ assembly voiced its “grave concern” about the education program in “some schools where contempt and intolerance are taught.”

“More than anything, the assembly again asks that radical changes be made in the educational system, otherwise the same causes will produce the same effects over and over,” they said.

The bishops are hopeful that the perpetrators will be caught and brought to court.

Police are investigating the incident, which resembles another recent act of vandalism.

On the morning of Sept. 4, vandals set fire to the door of the Trappists’ Latroun Monastery and spray painted the walls with blasphemous phrases in Hebrew.

The act drew condemnation from the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem and Israeli and Palestinian political leaders. Dozens of prominent rabbis from Israel and Europe also condemned the attack and expressed condolences to the monastery.

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