Pastor William Graney and another Resurrection Parish staff member were assaulted at the Pike Creek Catholic church, according to New Castle County Police.
County police officers were called to the church at about 2 p.m., according to a statement from the department. After arriving, witnesses directed the officers to the suspect, Joshua August, 25, who was leaving the area on a skateboard, police said.
The officers approached the suspect and apprehended him after a struggle, police said.
A subsequent police investigation found that church employees first were alerted to a problem when they heard arguing and then a struggle inside of Graney’s office, according to police.
They followed the sounds into his office and there they saw the August punching and kicking the priest in the face and stomach while he was on the floor.
The church employees tried to break up the fight, “but the white male subject pushed them aside and (then) went into another room, grabbed a bottle of wine, returned and poured it all over the injured pastor,” police said in the statement.
He used the empty wine bottle to then strike Graney in the head, police said. Then, he grabbed a can of compressed air and sprayed it into the priest’s mouth, police said.
After that attack, church employees were able to lure the suspect outside by telling him they would give him a ride and money, police said. Once outside, the employees locked the front door behind him.
The suspect then tried force his way back into the church, striking and breaking its main doors, police said. Still, he wasn’t able to enter.
Police then arrived, as well as medics, who took Graney to a local hospital where he was in stable condition on Monday evening.
Another parish staff member suffered minor injuries, Wilmington Diocese spokesman Robert Krebs said.
The suspect also was taken away by medics and treated for minor injuries. He remained in the hospital on Monday evening under the custody of police. He will be arrested and arraigned after he is discharged, police said.
Resurrection Parish offices will be closed and daily Masses canceled until further notice.
In other crime news, a church in Orleans was set on fire. Police discovered the words “Allahu Akbar” spray painted on a wall, 20minutes France reports.
The Saint-Pierre du Matroi church in Orleans was set on fire with “criminal intent”, according to police sources.
Furniture and sheet music were burned and the heinous graffiti found. One of which said “Allahu Akbar”.
Fortunately the fire was extinguished quickly by firemen and it didn’t burn the church’s supporting structure.
A police investigation was opened by the Orleans police department.
This isn’t the first attack on a French church. On 26 July 2016, two Islamist terrorists attacked participants in a Mass at a Catholic church in Normandy. The men killed the 85-year-old priest Jacques Hamel, by slitting his throat, and also critically wounded an 86-year-old man.
Last year a Muslim woman, only known by her first name “Kenza”, was given a two-year suspended sentence for vandalizing the Sainte Marie Madeleine Church in Rennes-le-Château.
According to the Christianophobia Observatory, a French non-profit organisation that tracks attacks against Christians in the country, there were 128 incidents of church vandalism or other anti-Christian attacks in France in the first five months of 2018.
James E Windsor, Overpasses News Desk
July 31st, 2018