Yesterday, at St Joseph Cathedral in Columbus, Ohio, Bishop Robert Brennan was celebrating Mass for pro-life efforts. Yesterday was the 48th anniversary of the infamous Roe v Wade decision by the Supreme Court. About 200 people were in attendance.
A little bit into the Mass (probably during the homily), 8 pro-abortion thugs with signs barged into the Mass, making their way up to the altar., Bishop Brennan, intrepid shepherd that he is (cough!), fled the pulpit. Please note that this same Bishop Brennan has a penchant for sending orthodox and/or pro-life priests away for "evaluation" and the such. That might explain his cowardice. I should point out that this Bishop Robert Brennan is not to be confused with Bishop Mark Brennan of the Diocese of Wheeling-Charlestown in West Virginia.
My questions about this situation do not have to do with the feckless bishop as much as they have to do with the adults in the congregation. I'm sure the police were called immediately, but between that phone call and the time that the police arrive, much damage could have been done. The thugs should never have been allowed to advance as far as the altar. Not only might they have damaged property, but worse, they might have actually committed sacrilege against sacred objects, and perhaps the Blessed Sacrament Himself.
The article states that about 200 people, including children, were present. Assuming 50 of those people were children, that still would have left 150 adults to deal with 8 thugs. That's almost 20 Catholics per pro-abort thug. I would also venture a guess that there were more than 8 able-bodied men that could have blocked and/or restrained those miscreants until authorities arrived, with others video-recording the events for legal protection and/or action.
I've been involved in several facebook discussions regarding this situation. Some people are actually defending the inaction of the congregation, stating that "Jesus didn't resist" and/or that the congregation shouldn't be expected to put themselves out to protect the church. They forget that the Church on earth is the Church Militant, not the "church milquetoast". Others, I'm happy to say, understand that the laity need to start stepping up to the plate and to develop action plans to deal with these situations when (not if, but when) they happen in our own parishes.
I will now say a word to those who are trying to justify passivity, laziness and/or cowardice by saying "Jesus didn't resist when arrested". Jesus Himself told us why. He reminded the disciples that He could all upon legions of angels at a moment's notice, but wouldn't because the plan of redemption had to be fulfilled. Therefore, this does not excuse us from the responsibility to resist evil and prevent sacrilege to God's houses. I certainly am not advocating violence, that is, unjust use of force against attackers. However, we may and must defend the Church and other Christians via blocking attackers and/or restraining them until legal authorities can take over. Men have simply got to be prepared to step up to the plate. They (and all of us) must purge from their thinking the idea that Jesus was a prototype of the hippie-peacenik of the 1960s. Nothing could be further from the truth.
It is incumbent upon each and every parish to come up with plans to deal with these disruptions when they happen. Under a Biden administration, these incidents will likely increase, so let's plan now. Of absolute necessity will be the recording of any such events. Have at each Mass someone who will bring a camcorder and be alert to use it the moment a situation arises. The ushers should be trained in detection of potential trouble, de-escalation of trouble, crowd-control and disruption control techniques. If they are unwilling to involve themselves in this, what is the point of them being ushers?
When I received the Sacrament of Confirmation, the bishop lightly slapped us on the cheek. That was a reminder of our duty to endure and to deal with suffering for our faith, a reminder that we are the Church Militant. I understand that feature has been removed from the Sacrament now, a sign of the lower expectations being placed on Catholics.
Catholics of our generation (and succeeding ones) have, in a sense, had it too easy. We've become spiritually and morally flabby. That usually results in lack of physical courage and endurance as well. We simply have to stiffen our spines, thicken our skins, and harden our noses. We, each and every one of us, must get used to the idea of skinning our knuckles and getting some dirt under our fingernails. These episodes will increase. We need to deal with it - NOW.