Vandals Deface Murals of Our Lady of Guadalupe

ASSOCIATED PRESS, Oct. 24—A mural of our Lady of Guadalupe, which had gone untouched in a tough Los Angeles neighborhood for 15 years, was recently vandalized, the AP reported.

“Vandals splashed black paint across the street-side mural, shocking some residents who view her as their protector,” the AP said. “'This is the first time they have put paint on the Virgin,’ said store owner Miguel Bernard, 59, who has seen his share of graffiti in the neighborhood. ‘I saw it and said, This is not good.’ That sentiment is being echoed throughout this predominantly Hispanic area in South Central Los Angeles where murals of the Virgin of Guadalupe, the beloved patron of Mexico and all America, have been defaced over the past few weeks on about a dozen businesses.

“The graffiti is unusual because images of the dark-skinned Virgin, who is typically depicted in a royal green robe and surrounded by a bright halo of light, are revered by Catholics everywhere. The image is so strong among many Hispanics that men wear T-shirts with the Virgin's image to the market; gang members tattoo her on their bodies and graffiti artists refuse to scribble on her image. ‘Most of these businesses paint it because 80% of our kids here who would be responsible for graffiti are gangsters and they are not going to disrespect her like that,’ said Officer Cathy Reyes of the Los Angeles Police Department. The vandalism started in the neighborhood about a month ago, said resident Elvia Partida, after a reproduction of the Virgin of Guadalupe arrived for a three-month pilgrimage in Los Angeles-area churches.”

Ventura Gets History Lesson

SAN FRANCISCO EXAMINER, Oct. 17—In a letter to the editor entitled “Cheap Shots,” Father Lee Kaylor, pastor of San Francisco's St. Sebastian Church, took issue with Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura's recent claim that religion is “a crutch for the weak-minded.”

“[Gov. Ventura] may snatch a few headlines by taking cheap shots at religion, but let's come home now from rhetorical wonderland to reality,” Father Kaylor wrote. “Statistics show the vast majority of private charity in this country is done through churches and synagogues. From the abolition of slavery to the civil rights movement, the churches of this country have led the way in the fight for human dignity.

“About the so-called evils of religion, it bears repeating that more murders have been committed by the atheistic ideologies of the Communists and Nazis in this century alone than in the last 1,000 years by all organized religions combined. Since the Catholic Church seems to be the favorite target of the self-anointed elite, it might be mentioned that the Church also gave birth to the first universities and hospitals, and played a major role in bringing down communism in our own time. I'd put the intellects of such ‘believers’ as Newton, Copernicus, Fermi and Pasteur above the likes of Jesse ‘The Body’ Ventura any day. Without organized religion to hold in check the totalitarian tendencies of government by reminding people of the existence of a higher authority than themselves, how long does anyone think our freedoms would last?”