Arson suspected in burning of 150-year-old church, in the latest act of violence following Supreme Court’s Roe overturning

Investigators suspect arson in the burning of West Virginia’s historic “Little Catholic Church on Irish Mountain” just after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.  

Early Sunday June 26, the Beaver Volunteer Fire Department arrived to find the smoldering church had already burned to the ground. The department said in a Facebook post the fire is “considered suspicious in nature and is being investigated as arson.”

The National Archives Catalog shows the 150-year-old church, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, was built in 1877-1878.

The Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston told Catholic News Agency it was “saddened to hear of the devastating fire at the historic St. Colman Catholic Church near Shady Spring, WV. Thankfully, no one was inside the building when the fire occurred, and the structure is a total loss.”  

The CNA also reports, “Catholic churches, crisis pregnancy centers, and other pro-life groups have been on heightened alert in response to threats of retaliatory attacks by pro-abortion activists.”  

Since the Supreme Court’s June 24 decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization overturned Roe v. Wade, arson and vandalism – including broken windows, defaced, broken or stolen statues and pro-choice graffiti – have plagued pro-life centers in multiple states such as Florida, Virginia, West Virginia, New York, Indiana, Washington, Oregon, New Orleans, California, Colorado and Texas.  

The graffiti includes such grim phrases as “this won’t stop,” “we’re coming for you,” “Abortion 4 All,” “Jane’s Revenge,” “we are everywhere,” and “if abortion aint safe you aint safe,” as well as anarchist symbols.  

With such acts of violence on the rise, it remains to be seen whether the Biden administration and the media will continue to ignore or downplay the issue, and whether any action will be taken to stop the criminal acts. 

For now, Catholic churches and other pro-life groups and organizations will have to remain on high alert.