SANANTONIO-- Rudy Rodriguez, a deacon at the Sacred Heart Church near downtown, never thought he would see the day when somebody would decapitate the church's most revered statue.

It just seems like somebody has it against Jesus Christ, he said. To do damage to a statue that sacred? I can't imagine that.

Along with cutting off the the head of the statue of the Sacred Heart, whoever committed the crime also chopped off some of the statue's fingers, and that has angered parishioners.

In all those years, there was no fear anything would happen, so people are very emotional about it and very upset aboutwho did it and why, Rev. Walter D'heedene said.

The church's priest sounded stunned, but he sees the act as a sign from above.

The fingers that remain are touching the heart and it's almost like the heart, the symbol of love God saying, in spite of it all, that I still love you and come back to me, D'heedene said.

But just in case the vandal does come back, he's going to have a tougher time vandalizing the statue. D'heedene plans to move it to a more secure area inside of the church's fences.

Obviously, after 50 years you think it's safe here, but it isn't, he said.

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