As an organization formed in 1836 to combat attacks by bigoted nativist against newly arrived Irish immigrants and the Catholic Churches they attended, the Ancient Order of Hibernians (AOH) are saddened to see a return of that same prejudice in the recent vandalism of the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Denver, Colorado. The spraying of swastikas, messages of stereotypical bigotry, and the desecration of objects of veneration are proof that the anti-Catholic bigotry of the 19th century ‘Know Nothings’ still as adherents in 21st century America.
Yet amplifying our outrage over this wanton attack on our faith is the knowledge that this is the third attack on this same church since July and one of 25 incidents of hate targeting Catholic churches in Colorado since February of 2021. The attack at the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception and other Churches in Colorado are themselves only a small subset of a rising wave of anti-Catholic hate crimes which are plaguing our nation.
The Ancient Order of Hibernians ask, “Where is the outrage” that our elected official and the media should be expressing as representatives of the broader community? We are incredulous that if a house of worship of another faith was attacked three times in as many months that local officials would not be rushing to microphones to denounce it and pledging resources to stop the spread of such hate. The AOH is in disbelief of local news reports which state “(Denver Police) Investigators will look into whether this was a bias-motivated crime.” We ask if the painting of swastikas and other slurs on the wall of a house of worship are not the very definition of a bias crime than what is?
Finally, the AOH is disgusted that one News Reporter appears to attempt to palliate the attacks by speculating a motive relating to “the Catholic Church has been in the headlines in the past few years,” without offering any correlation between those headlines and the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception or any of the other churches under attack.. The generalization of the misdeeds of a few to justify the hate of an entire class is the standard operating procedure of bigotry.
The constitution of the Ancient Order of Hibernians calls on its members “To accept and support, without prejudice, the concept of free expression of religious practice for the people of the world“, and that includes our own Catholic faith in America. We call on our elected officials at all levels of government to end the prejudicial double tier of outrage where attacks against one faith are met with appropriate and rightful outrage while the very same deeds, when perpetuated at a Catholic Church, are trivialized or worse, met with the sounds of silence. We reminded them of the Roman legal maximum ‘qui tacet consentire videtur,’ ‘He who is silent is taken to agree“. There should be no agreement and, therefore, no silence for the acts of hate committed against any house of worship. It is time to end the sliding scale of outrage dependent on which faith is targeted.
 “Denver cathedral vandalized; police investigating, searching for suspect”, https://kdvr.com/news/local/denver-cathedral-vandalized-police-investigating-searching-for-suspect/
 See Denver7 Video accompanying “Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in downtown Denver vandalized”, https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/cathedral-basilica-of-the-immaculate-conception-in-downtown-denver-vandalized/vi-AAPlVSp