Religion briefs, 3-29

Catholic bishop urges forgiveness for Mormons in shrine vandalism case

SAN LUIS, Colo. (AP) A criminal inquiry of three Mormon missionaries accused of defacing a Roman Catholic shrine was dropped after Catholic Bishop Arthur Tafoya sought forgiveness for the young men ahead of Easter.

Costilla County Cpl. Scott Powell said March 21 that the investigation had just gotten under way when Tafoya asked that charges not be pursued.

Photos posted on the Internet showed the trio at the Shrine of the Mexican Martyrs at the Chapel of All Saints, which stands on a butte overlooking San Luis.

The photos taken in 2006 show young men holding the broken head of a statue, preaching from the Book of Mormon at an altar and pretending to sacrifice one another.

The damage was only discovered this month, and officials from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints quickly issued an apology.

Tafoya, bishop of the Pueblo diocese, said Mormon officials apologized to him personally.