Church Defaced; Stand on AIDS, Abortion Cited

In an apparent reaction to Los Angeles Roman Catholic clergy's position on abortion and AIDS, vandals splattered red paint and scrawled expletives on the facade of a church in Torrance, authorities said Sunday.

It was the third act of vandalism in the last month at St. Catherine Laboures Church, and the latest in a series of politically motivated defacement of Catholic churches in Southern California, police and church officials said.

"Indications all point to the same groups which oppose the church's view on abortion and have done this damage in other places," said Father John Schiavone, an associate pastor.

Schiavone said the red enamel splotches on the church's walls and steeple were accompanied by a spray-painted expletive.

Schiavone said the church received a telephone call Sunday from an unidentified man who referred to the graffiti as "redecoration" and said the "vandalism will stop, if you stop harassing abortion clinics and stop murdering people with AIDS."

Church officials said the recent attacks may be related to attacks in December at four Los Angeles-area churches.

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