Should Catholics worry about abortion protests disrupting Mother’s Day Mass?

Katie YoderJoe Bukuras By Katie YoderJoe Bukuras for CNA


Pro-abortion graffiti on the doors of Sacred Heart of Mary Catholic Church in Boulder, Colorado, on May 4, 2022. / Archdiocese of Denver

Washington, D.C. Newsroom, May 6, 2022 / 19:00 pm (CNA).

Multiple reports and social media posts are warning that abortion activists will disrupt Mass on Sunday — Mother’s Day. Should Catholics take these threats seriously?

Some Catholic churches and dioceses certainly are. And some Catholic and secular organizations are passionately responding.

The protests are in response to a leaked draft opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. The draft signaled that Supreme Court justices are poised to overturn Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion nationwide in 1973.

Although some locations of the protests seem to be confirmed by parishes and dioceses, it’s still unclear how many protests across the country are being planned.

The Diocese of Charleston, the Archdiocese of New York, and some churches in Washington, D.C., are taking extra precautions. According to a statement shared by the Diocese of Charleston, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops is now involved and warning parishes.

Police in Washington, D.C., and in New York are also on alert.

“MPD is aware of potential disruptions associated with First Amendment demonstrations, MPD will be monitoring, assessing and planning accordingly with our local and federal partners,” the Metropolitan Police Department in Washington, D.C., told the Daily Wire. “We have increased available resources, including the activation of our Civil Disturbance Units, in preparation for these activities.”

An alarming call to action

Earlier this week, a pro-abortion group, Ruth Sent Us, first began calling on activists to “Stand at or in a local Catholic Church” on May 8 on social media.

“Whether you’re a ‘Catholic for Choice’, ex-Catholic, of other or no faith, recognize that six extremist Catholics set out to overturn Roe,” the group tweeted on May 3. Those six include conservative Justices John Roberts, Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett — as well as liberal Justice Sonia Sotomayor.

The tweet included a video clip of women shouting in the middle aisle of a church, “Abortion on demand and without apology! Without this basic right, women can’t be free!”

“Challenge time,” the video text read. “Do you dare to chant in your local church?”

The group has taken responsibility for disrupting Catholic churches before, such as at the Cathedral of St. Mary of the Assumption in San Francisco back in February. During Mass, video footage shows protesters walking down the aisle toward the altar wearing red robes and white bonnets or “handmaids” costumes frequently worn by abortion activists. The costumes symbolize enslaved women who are raped and forced to give birth, inspired by Margaret Atwood’s 1985 dystopian novel, “The Handmaid’s Tale.”

Don’t engage protesters, D.C. advisory says

A tweet by Twitter user Matt Gorman shows that St. Peter’s Catholic Church on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., is preparing for protesters to disrupt Masses this weekend.

“All are welcome to join us for Mass at St. Peter’s,” a photo of an alleged announcement from St. Peter’s says. “Even though the disruption of the Holy Mass is a grave offense to every person of faith, we will strive to continue worship of God and exercise fraternal charity in any case.”

The statement continues to instruct parishioners that if Mass is interrupted, to pray in a “prayerful posture,” to stay in the church and follow the pastor’s directions, and to not engage protesters.

Reporter Mary Margaret Olohan of The Daily Wire reported that another church in Washington, D.C. — St. Joseph’s on Capitol Hill — also alerted parishioners.

St. Joseph’s pastor, Father William Gurnee, wrote in a letter that he received information from the Archdiocese of Washington’s police chaplain.

“They believe the protesters at the Supreme Court might seek to disrupt Mass this weekend. We have asked for the police to intervene,” he wrote. “I pray that you will not change your plans to attend Mass because this weekend we will celebrate the confirmation of three young men and Mother’s Day.”

The largest Roman Catholic Church in North America, the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, in Washington, D.C., expressed no concern to CNA in a statement.

“The Basilica exists to provide a respectful, distraction-free place of prayer, pilgrimage and worship,” a screenshot of the statement read. “The Basilica and its grounds are Private Property and, according to its longstanding policy, no activity shall take place upon the Basilica’s property other than those sponsored by the Basilica.”

New York City police on alert

The New York Police Department will be sending extra patrols at Catholic churches in the city between midnight on Friday and midnight on Sunday, the New York Post reported. The Post reported that the information came from an internal police memo, which told officers that violent protests and chaos could ensue.

The Post reported that the memo says, “Special attention must be paid in the vicinity of the Catholic church especially during Sunday morning Mass.”

Communications director for the New York Archdiocese told The Post that the archdiocese is planning to increase security over the weekend and “will work with law enforcement and take appropriate steps as needed.”

“We are aware of the call for some kind of protest, and without going into specifics, will work with law enforcement and take appropriate steps as needed,” he said.

In the southern part of the country, a woman named Samantha Mednik in Palm Coast Florida, said in a Facebook post that she is organizing a “women’s rights protest” in front of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church in the Diocese of St. Augustine on Mother’s Day. Mednik said that the church is “known for their anti-abortion signs aimed towards women (and others with a uterus).”

Mednik continued, “Our voices will be heard – bring posters, signs, limited supply of water might be provided, wear comfortable clothing and most importantly, bring your VOICE! Share this event to your story and repost to spread the word.”

Mednik’s post, which had four likes and one share on Friday night, told protesters to refrain from entering or disrupting church services.

CNA contacted both the church and the diocese for comment, but received no response by time of publication.

Prince of Peace Catholic Church and School in Taylors, South Carolina, posted a statement from the Diocese of Charleston that urged diocesan churches to “be vigilant and careful” on Mother’s Day because of the possible threat of boycotts, protests, and vandalism.

CNA contacted the diocese to confirm the statement but did not receive a response by time of publication.

The Diocese of Fort Worth, Texas, encouraged parishioners May 6 to “remain peaceful, prayerful, and recollected” in the face of any such protest.

“If you see any type of suspicious activity, please remain calm and immediately report it to church volunteers who are the ushers and guardian ministry members so that they can respond as directed in order to prevent confrontation and preserve and promote the safety of all,” the statement says.

Ruth Sent Us warned

The Thomas More Society, a Chicago-based law firm dedicated to protecting religious liberty, family, life and free and fair elections, sent a warning letter to Ruth Sent Us, the group that has been encouraging people to protest at local Catholic churches across the country.

The statement says, “We will gladly represent any church or person of faith who seeks legal recourse against you or your protesters for your unlawful disruption of any religious worship services.”

CatholicVote responded to potential threats on Thursday by asking President Joe Biden, who identifies as Catholic, and other leaders to condemn any efforts to disrupt Catholic Masses or protest outside justices’ homes.

Ruth Sent Us previously mapped out the geographical locations of some of the justices’ homes on its website. Google Maps, which the group used to map out the houses, appears to have since removed their locations.

“President Biden must immediately and forcibly condemn these domestic terrorist threats,” Catholic Vote President, Brian Burch said. “Anti-Catholic zealots are plotting to intimidate and harass Catholics across the country, along with justices and their families. This country was built on freedom of speech and freedom of religion. The President of the United States must stand up for both.”

Burch cited the growing number of recent attacks on Catholic churches, shrines, and symbols. The group linked to a story by Catholic News Agency about a Catholic church in Boulder, Colorado, that was defaced with pro-abortion graffiti for second time in seven months this week.

“We call on responsible leaders in Washington to unequivocally condemn these dangerous threats before they lead to violence, or worse,” he concluded.

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  1. Katie Yoder, Joe Bukuras CNA are doing a service to the Catholic faithful in raising the alarm. Indications are the Left had planned a preemptive strategy of violent protest hoping to pressure the Justices to change their opinion. Only one is required, if Chief Justice Roberts, in my view, will vote to support the minority in his bankrupt sense of justice, sort of like Hyacinth in Keeping up Appearances.
    Opponents of a right to life of the unborn are enraged, irrational, psychotic in their propaganda that the Court, largely made up of extremist Catholic will extinguish all their rights [one popular news anchor rattled on that pro abortion women might well be burned as witches].
    Given their degree of screw loosedness, they’re already barging into Catholic churches protesting, insulting the faithful, backed by this Administration, two the most anti Catholic nominal Catholics who insist on receiving the Holy Eucharist.
    Our Holy Father seems complacent on this, he apparently advised the CDF prefect Cardinal Ladaria to insist that decision on communion is entirely up to the local ordinary. Vatican policy continues to chip away at loyal practice of the faith, now supported by the new paradigm Catholics in Congress who will use any means to deter justice, to continue Christ’s crucifixion in their lies, and violence against the Mystical Body. I would say God save us. Instead, I say God have mercy on them.

  2. Interrupting a worship service, damaging church property, these are not random acts of kindness but acts of hatred coming from those who are always accuse others of being hateful.

  3. Q: Should Catholics worry about abortion protests disrupting Mother’s Day Mass?
    A: Of course they should.

    Q: Will the protests turn violent?
    A: It says here that the protesters are hoping the answer to that is YES.

    “CatholicVote responded to potential threats Thursday by asking President Joe Biden, who identifies as Catholic (sarc alert – TM) and other leaders to condemn any efforts to disrupt Catholic Masses or protest outside Justices’s homes.”

    This is certainly a reasonable request, but – is there anyone out there who seriously believes that Joe will do any such thing?

  4. The Supreme Court needs to immediately make their final decision. This will lessen the threat of violence to the justices and their families and cut off the blackmail possibility.

  5. For those who wish to push back against the diabolical leftists intent on marginalizing the Catholic faith, here’s a suggested chant congregations can use to reframe the debate in the direction of truth:

    Be gone, satan’s spawn!
    We love babies all day long!

    Congregations singing out these words will show that Catholics may not be intimidated or silenced.

    They will also testify to the fact that the issue is not “women’s health” or “my body,” but rather the lives of the cutest, funniest, most innocent among us — babies.

    The satanic left never speaks that word when they debate abortion. We need to shout it at the tops of our lungs.

    • Good point, brineyman, and there is another word which they avoid as much as possible which we need to shout at the top of our lungs – ABORTION

  6. Stripping people of their constitutional right to worship should be a felony with a long jail sentence.That includes blocking doorways and shouting in the middle of services, which are held on private church property. I hope when Republicans take the Congress in the upcoming elections they will enact such legislation. Meanwhile turning the other cheek with such people will do nothing but convince them to do this again.I personally do not think these people who would dare interrupt Mass should be handled with kid gloves. Churches also need to invest in cameras for security as soon as possible (inside and out, installed very high so they cannot be tampered with). This will allow violent intruders to be identified. Yes, it is worth the high cost to prevent sacrilege. Such offenders need to be prosecuted with the same partisan vigor as the J6 demonstrators. If not, the question must be asked “why not?” Allowing these people to have their own way is to destroy what is left of an independent church and the freedom to worship unharmed and deprive believers of their right to worship..

  7. Asking so that someone who knows more than I about such matters can respond. If illegal disruptions of Mass are coordinated nationwide by various groups, could such groups and participating individuals be sued or prosecuted under the RICO statute?

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