Statue of Saint John Neumann at Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul desecrated – CBS Philly

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A revered statue in the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul has been desecrated by vandals. The outline of one of Philadelphia’s most historic figures is all that remains.

The statue of Saint John Neumann, the fourth bishop of Philadelphia and the architect of the Catholic school system across the country, was desecrated last month. Parts of the shrine have been vandalized. It is believed that stones or bottles were used.

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The crime at the shrine which sits outside the steps of the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul went unnoticed until the next morning.

“It was badly vandalized and by that I mean the statue was destroyed,” said Fr Dennis Gill, rector of the cathedral.

The desecration was not captured by cameras.

Eyewitness News has obtained photos of the broken statue – the head and one arm are detached and in places chipped.

Lou DiCocco of the Saint Jude store in Havertown will oversee a team responsible for repairs.

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“Fortunately, we surround ourselves with artists and artisans here as well as in our quarry in Italy,” DiCocco said.

The work should take time and require great attention.

“Marble is unique in that when you break marble it needs to be sealed, you don’t want any seams or moisture getting in,” DiCocco said.

Gill believes the incident is just one example of a larger crisis affecting the city.

“This type of violence that we see against human life, as horrific as it is, spills over into all kinds of other destructive behavior,” Gill said, “and the vandalism of this sanctuary was an unnecessary destructive action.”

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“I think all Philadelphians need to work together in a focused way to address the issue of violence at all levels,” Gill added. “Because violence is not only real when someone is shot in the street, but it is real in many ways that we interact with each other and also how violent we are towards property people, with the Earth. We can continue in many ways that violence has just become part of the fabric of our society and that will only change if we consciously commit together to address it.

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