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The tabernacle of St. Bartholomew Catholic Church was seen at a Burger King on May 11, cracked open and without the EucharistAdrian Fonseca/Twitter

KATY, Texas (LifeSiteNews) ― A young man has been arrested and charged with burglary after he confessed to stealing a tabernacle from St. Bartholomew Catholic Church in Katy, Texas.

On May 11, Christian James Meritt, age 26, was arrested by Katy, Texas police and charged with felony burglary of a building, criminal mischief, and felony possession of the drug methamphetamine. The Houston Chronicle reported that Meritt initially resisted arrest and damaged a police car, according to court documents.

The Katy Police Department stated in a press release shared with LifeSiteNews that Meritt confessed to stealing the tabernacle while being interviewed by detectives.

Meritt has previously been convicted for home burglary in 2017.

The Katy Police Department’s Captain Javier Martinez told LifeSiteNews that they believe the theft appears to be a crime of opportunity, committed to support his drug habit.

The tabernacle, which was stolen sometime between the evening of May 8 and the morning of May 9, was seen at a Burger King on May 11, cracked open and without the Eucharist, which Catholics believe is the true Body of Christ.

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However, Adrian Fonseca, producer for Guadalupe Radio Network, who shared on Twitter a picture of the tabernacle beside the Burger King, later that day reported that the tabernacle was stolen a second time. Fonseca explained in a tweet that the tabernacle “was left behind because the person who took the picture needed to leave,” and that “When the person came back it was gone.”

Martinez told LifeSiteNews that video footage showed Meritt later returning to the Burger King to pick up the tabernacle. Detectives found contents of the tabernacle at Meritt’s home, including a chalice, ciborium (used to hold and distribute the Eucharist during Mass), and a pyx (used by priests to carry the Eucharist), but not the consecrated hosts of the Eucharist, which Martinez told LifeSiteNews have been discarded. Katy police have not confirmed where Meritt discarded the Eucharist.

The tabernacle itself was also discarded by Meritt and has not been recovered, according to the Katy Police Department.

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The Archdiocese said in a statement, “Sadly, the tabernacle … has not yet been recovered, though efforts are ongoing. In any case, such a theft beyond material price is immeasurably hurtful to the Archdiocese and speaking theologically, is sacrilegious.”

They are asking all to “continue praying with us for the parish and all those involved in this matter.”

Since the theft, best-selling Catholic writer Dr. Taylor Marshall has encouraged Catholics to offer to help priests with their time, skill, or money to ensure that their church tabernacle is bolted down into church structure and safely locked, so that neither the tabernacle, nor the Eucharist alone, can be stolen.

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Please SIGN this petition calling on Hong Kong leader John Lee to cease all intimidation of Cardinal Joseph Zen following his arrest for supporting pro-democracy demonstrators. 

Cardinal Joseph Zen, the Bishop Emeritus of Hong Kong, was arrested by the pro-China security police in Hong Kong in a major escalation of intimidation against pro-freedom activists in the region.

Zen was one of four people arrested on May 11th on suspicion of "colluding with foreign forces", with the 90-year-old's detention marking the first high-profile move by Hong Kong's new Chief Executive, John Lee.

The Hong Kong security police targeted Zen as a trustee of the 612 Humanitarian Relief Fund, which provided “legal, medical, psychological and emergency financial assistance” to those involved in the 2019 protests against the government’s Extradition Law Amendment Bill, which allows prisoners to be transferred to China for trial.

Cardinal Zen has since been released, but his passport was confiscated to prevent him leaving Hong Kong.

The arrest was made possible under the terms of Hong Kong’s draconian national security law, passed in 2020, which Zen warned would be used to silence the Church. 

The outspoken cardinal previously confessed that he was prepared to go to prison under the terms of the new law, saying, “If right and proper words were considered against their law, I will endure all the suing, trials, and arrests.”

Cardinal Zen is a hero to Hong Kongers, and needs the world to stand with him today. 

SIGN and SHARE this urgent petition calling on Hong Kong leader John Lee to cease all intimidation of Cardinal Zen today.

The people of Hong Kong, including Cardinal Zen, have lived under the shadow of Beijing since 1997, and know personally how oppressive Chinese Communist Party rule is.

This arrest of a Catholic cardinal by communist authorities in Hong Kong is a stark reminder of the harsh realities of life for all citizens of the region. 

Cardinal Zen's plight demands the attention of all people of good-will, as his spirit of resistance in the face of tyranny continues to inspire new generations of Hong Kongers to defy the horrors of communist rule.

Please stand with Cardinal Zen today - SIGN and SHARE this petition calling for an end to the intimidatory tactics of the Chinese Communist Party's proxy leaders in Hong Kong.

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Cardinal Zen arrested in Hong Kong - LifeSiteNews

Cardinal Zen calls out Pope Francis for not answering dubia about ‘murder’ of Chinese Church - LifeSiteNews

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According to the Houston Chronicle, Meritt is currently being held in the Harris County jail. 

Katy Police announced in a press release that the investigation is still ongoing and invite anyone with additional information to contact Lt. J. Stewart at the Katy Police Department at (281)-391-4848.

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