From a reader:
Is is okay to fight in churches ? Can one shoot or punch vandals ? Can one defend the priest, or himself, or the Sacrament ?
Many who comment on destruction stories want to put up watches. Would this really work out properly ?
Thank you for your zeal. The motto I have for my own coat-of-arms is Zelus Domus Tuae.
If there is serious concern about probable vandalism or break-ins, I would – first – hire a security service. For example, one of my favorite parishes, Assumption Grotto in Detroit, has a service that watches the whole property, even at night.
In other words, if there are realistic concerns, perhaps professionals are the best starting point.
After that, I suppose that the usual moral considerations about the use of force are in play. People have a right to defend themselves and their property and an obligation to defend others whose care is in their charge as well as the defenseless. A proportionate use of force can be used in defense of self, others, and property. That would also extend to that which is sacred.
Whatever is done, should not be done without consultation of the parish priest and also the police. They should be advised if people are going to be around so they themselves are not taken for vandals.
Another idea: If people are going to be around the place, perhaps start Perpetual Adoration. This would not only serve the cause of having people around and making they place a less desirable target, but it would also please the Lord and be of great spiritual benefit for the whole parish.
Perhaps some of the readers have had some experience with their own parish churches and security problems.