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Statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary at the 40 Days for Life shelter in ViennaAndreas Walzer/LifeSiteNews

VIENNA (LifeSiteNews) — A man destroyed a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary at a pro-life prayer rally last night in Vienna. 

The unidentified passerby walked up to the 40 Days for Life shelter, which is across the street from an abortion mill, at around 9 p.m. local time and started kicking the statue. He knocked it to the ground, where it smashed, before running away. 

An eyewitness told LifeSiteNews that the perpetrator withdrew money from a nearby ATM before walking up to the small prayer tent. He screamed “Every life is valuable” in a cynical tone before destroying the statue.  

The vandal was probably referring to a sign at the shelter that reads “Every life is valuable.” 

A 40 Days for Life participant praying at the site before the attack attempted to follow the man when he fled but could not catch up to him. This witness has since reported the incident to the police. 

The organizer of 40 Days for Life Vienna told LifeSiteNews that she does not believe that the perpetrator had planned the attack beforehand. Rather, it seemed like he had been triggered by the sign reading “Every life is valuable” to commit the sacrilege. The organizer speculated that the man himself may once have been hurt by an abortion procedure somehow.  

READ: 40 Days for Life in Vienna: Ending abortion means having the courage to do what is uncomfortable

LifeSiteNews reported on the 40 Days for Life prayer rally in Vienna shortly before the sacrilegious attack happened, showing the then-intact Marian statue. 

View from the 40 Days for Life Vienna shelter (before the attack) 

In many countries around the world, people are praying for the 40 days between September 28 and November 6 as a part of the 40 Days for Life campaign. According to the president of the 40 Days for Life apostolate, 49 unborn children had been saved across the world as a direct result of 40 Days for Life prayer vigils and volunteers by October 10, 2022. 

Vandalism and attacks on pro-life sites and Catholic churches are not uncommon. There have been multiple reported cases of vandalism against pro-life centers and churches in the last few weeks alone, including a firebombing of a crisis pregnancy center in Buffalo, New York. 

According to a report by the European Centre for Law & Justice, attacks on Christian sites are on the rise in Europe as well, with more than 500 legally recorded cases in 2019 alone.