Catholic Church Set Ablaze on Dobbs Anniversary in Orlando, Florida
The fire occurred on the one-year anniversary of the overturning of the 1973 landmark Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion nationwide.
Investigators with the Orlando Fire Department are looking into what started a blaze at Incarnation Catholic Church in Orlando, Florida, Saturday night, causing severe damage to the inside of the building.
The fire, which was reported to law enforcement around 11:30 p.m. on June 24, occurred on the one-year anniversary of the overturning of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 landmark Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion nationwide.
During 2022, in both the months prior and the wake after the Supreme Court struck down Roe, Catholic churches and pro-life pregnancy centers became the target of pro-abortion vandalism across the nation. CNA has been tracking incidents of pro-abortion vandalism, of which there have been 110 since May 2022.
It is unclear if the fire at Incarnation Catholic Church is related to an abortion activist’s violence.
According to the Orlando Fire Department, the fire was coming from the rear end of the building. Firefighters were able to put out the blaze in 22 minutes and no one was in the church at the time. No injuries were reported from the fire.
The cause of the fire is under investigation. There is no estimated cost in damages at this time, a spokesperson for the department told CNA Monday. The pastor of the church, Father William Holiday, told clickorlando.com that “the church for all intents and purposes on the inside is destroyed.”
“We did lose some paintings and some statues and things like that, but there were some things in there, there was a picture of the Blessed Virgin Mary in there ... and it did not have a mark on it,” he said.
Holiday didn’t want to speculate on whether the church was targeted or not, the outlet reported, saying that “if it’s circumstantial, it’s God’s providence; if it’s possibly intentional, that’s in God’s providence also.”
In a Sunday statement on its website, the church said that it would still be holding Sunday Mass in a hall next to the church. However, it encouraged parishioners to attend Masses at other parishes if possible.
Parishioner Karen Walker told WESH that “obviously everybody’s very, very sad. We love our church. It was beautiful. I don’t know what it will be now."
WESH also reported that 911 was called at about 11:30 p.m. Saturday night when the owner of a laundromat across the street from the church saw the flames.
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