Catholic Center graffitied with anti-religious images


Graffiti found on the rear of the Catholic Center building. It depicts a priest with an upside down cross and an indistinguishable creature.

On Saturday, an onlooker reported graffiti at the Catholic Center building, according to Tulane University Police Department. The images were identified as  anti-Catholic by members of the community.

On the rear of the building the words, “NO DOUBT” were written in red and blue spray paint. On the back fence, a picture of a frowning priest with an upside down cross and an unidentified animal appear. Another drawing was reported as indistinguishable.

On Tuesday, Father Thomas Schaefgen, the chaplain and director of the Catholic Center, addressed the vandalism in his homily.

“This graffiti was not just graffiti, it was offensive in nature,” Schaefgen said. “It had a religious theme to it, so I think of it in a sense, as spiritual terrorism, if you like to think about it that way. Obviously I don’t think anybody is in physical danger here but it seems to me very clear that someone, somewhere doesn’t like what we do here, and that should not surprise us.”

Some students responded to the graffiti with positivity instead of anger.

“It almost seems counterintuitive but it’s kind of a strengthening experience,” senior Andrew Wierdak said. “It’s like someone really is struck by the Catholic Center and that means that we are having an impact on campus and we hope that we can bring God’s love out there onto the campus and be a source of light and sometimes that means we’re going to come up against people who might have problems with that.”

Wierdak said he wishes that he knew why the offender targeted the church so he could engage in dialogue with them.

“If that person who did that, if she or he… have concerns about Jesus, about the church, if they feel the need to paint that, I would love to honestly just be able to talk to them and hopefully hear them out and hear if they’ve had a negative experience with the church or God or anything like that,” Wierdak said.

A TUPD report on criminal damage to property is in progress and will follow.

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