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Jesus statue desecrated: Mess cleaned up within 2 hrs.; basilica pastor urges prayers for perpetrator(s)
Thursday, 15 July 2021 22:42

From Staff Reports 

The widely revered Sacred Heart of Jesus statue, which has been standing for decades beside the Basilica of St. Lawrence in downtown Asheville, was doused in oil-based red paint in an act of vandalism over the Fourth of July weekend, “but the majesty was quickly restored by parish staff,” according to a report in the July 6 edition of the Catholic News Herald.

The vandalism to the 7-foot-tall statue, which is visible to west-bound motorists along I-240, was noticed upon arrival for Mass around 8 a.m. July 4 by parish staff and attendees. (The statue actually stands 10 feet tall, when the base is included, the CNH noted.)

“Parish Property Manager Bud Hansbury used graffiti remover, then repainted the statue of Jesus from the neck down, restoring its beauty before the noon Mass on Sunday (July 4),” the CNH reported.

“The damage occurred sometime after the vigil Mass on Saturday evening (July 3),” the CNH wrote. 

Meanwhile, the Rev. Roger Arnsparger, pastor at the basilica, said in a prepared statement, “The good news is our devoted curator and property manager had the mess cleaned up within a couple of hours,” (The pastor’s full statment on the incident appears to the right.)

Arnsparger reportedly spoke to parishioners that Sunday (July 4) about the incident, “asking them to pray for peace and respect for everyone,” the CNH stated. “The parish reported the incident to the Asheville Police Department.”

“We are praying for those who did this, and we are endlessly grateful for the support of our community,” the CNH quoted Arnsparger as saying.

 

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D.A., council providing haven for lawbreakers to disrespect Christianity, authority, FOP chief says
Thursday, 15 July 2021 22:39

Asheville, touting itself for years as a politically progressive city, “always” has had some people “who have no respect for authority, for law enforcement, for Christianity and for the church,” local Fraternal Order of the Police President Rondell Lance said in an interview with the Daily Planet on July 10.

His comments were in response to questions from the newspaper stemming from revelations of the recent desecration of the Sacred Heart of Jesus statue outside of the St. Lawrence Basilica in downtown Asheville.

“And we’ll always have that. We’ve dealt with that for years downtown. Vandalism has always been a problem — in West Asheville and downtown,” Lance added. The Asheville native, who retired in 2014 after 26-1/2 years in law enforcement, now leads the local FOP that represents around 250 local officers.

“In my opinion, it (the Jesus statue’s desecration) comes from a a group that just has no respect” for anything — or anyone, Lance asserted.

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If preservationists win case, Vance Monument’s rebuild will be costly, attorney says
Thursday, 15 July 2021 22:27
By JOHN NORTH
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If those seeking to preserve the Vance Monument in downtown Asheville win their court battle, the obelisk already disassembled down to its base will be costly for local taxpayers to rebuild to the same quality standards (as required by the State Monument Act), H. Edward Phillips III, attorney for the preservationists, told the Daily Planet in a July 9 interview

What’s more, Phillips said, “It’s a distinct possibility the Vance Monument would have to be reassembled and rebuilt possibly at its original location” on Pack Square in the heart of downtown.

“I can tell you, when they originally restored it in 2013, it was $138,000, plus the conservationists who worked on it donated at least $10,000 in time, if not more. And so it would take that amount — or more — to put it back together and re-restore it. It’s crazy. And when they restored it, it was still standing.”

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