The Deacon's Bench

The Deacon's Bench


Protesting too much?

posted by deacon greg kandra

A reader alerted me to the disturbing video below, showing the arrest of an 80-year-old priest yesterday on the campus of Notre Dame.


I was struck by this for a number of reasons. Just this morning, I took part in a pro-life mass and march at my parish, led by the legendary Msgr. Phil Reilly, founder of Helper’s of God’s Precious Infants, an apostolate that began in Brooklyn and now stretches around the world. (We’re going to be profiling Msgr. Reilly on The NET, and the march and mass were filmed for that.) The “Helpers” take a very different approach to protest — and it’s proven to be fairly effective. It’s not without conflict and controversy; this morning, several people jeered and taunted as we marched. But sometimes quiet, prayerful work, done within the parameters of the law, can be a powerful witness. We had a police escort for the march, and stayed where we were legally permitted. There were about 60-70 people, praying the rosary and singing behind police barricades. A handful offered rosaries and leaflets to passers-by. (I’ve attended other marches where there were “escorts” on hand to help women in and out of the clinic. I didn’t see any this morning. Maybe because we were keeping our distance.)

At least one blogger is wondering if that’s a better way to make a point.

Below is a video explaining how the Helpers do their work. As Msgr. Reilly puts it, when pro-life activists prayerfully march to a clinic, it is nothing less than a journey to Calvary.



Advertisement
Comments read comments(26)
post a comment
Psalms and Angels

posted May 16, 2009 at 7:11 pm


I am very sorry that the Bishops hide in the shadows. They are not brave as the Apostles were. These days I see the beginning of the end of catholicism. Only few like you stand up for what is right. The Pope is an appeaser. He does not command respect. This is why there is no respect for the catholic teachings. I was educated in a convent school but now have excommunicated myself.You are brave but you are few.



report abuse
 

Patm

posted May 16, 2009 at 7:32 pm


I think it is a very good question to ask if protesting and marches hurt or help the cause. I have been turned off by some of the graphic displays I’ve seen during marches. On the other hand, silence is deadly.



report abuse
 

Joseph Fromm

posted May 16, 2009 at 8:51 pm


What about the video disgust you? Notre Dame, The police, President Obama or the 80 year old Catholic priest carrying the cross and being arrested?



report abuse
 

Karinann

posted May 16, 2009 at 8:53 pm


What a power fully beautiful video. Msgr. seems to be a very special priest. I tend to agree that quiet, prayerful protest is more effective. As a post -abortive woman myself, my healing has been a great grace. I also know that the women going into the clinic have their minds made up and all the shouting in the world won’t change them, but the power in all those prayers in God’s time can change a multitude of hearts.God Bless.My prayers for your first commenter.



report abuse
 

Deacon Greg Kandra

posted May 16, 2009 at 8:56 pm


Joseph…I didn’t say it was disgusting. I said it was disturbing. And it is. The poor priest looks like he’s on the verge of tears, and about to die. Dcn. G.



report abuse
 

Sean Keller

posted May 16, 2009 at 9:40 pm


What’s disturbing/disgusting is that Father Jenkins is solely responsible for the disgrace he has brought on to himself and the Notre Dame community.Once this is all over, Father Jenkins should publicly apologize for the circus atmosphere he has created and then retreat in solitude and beg the Lord’s forgiveness. however, I don’t expect to see that because he is pompous and arrogant.



report abuse
 

Diane M. Korzeniewski, OCDS

posted May 16, 2009 at 10:09 pm


Deacon, Thanks for linking to my post in which I raised the question. One of my first times out with Helpers of God’s Precious Infants in metro Detroit happened to be a day that Msgr. Reilly led the vigil. I remember how anxious I was never having been involved in pro-life work of any kind prior. However, once Monsignor spoke and instructed us to love those seeking abortion, to love the doctors and the clinic workers – to not hate them, and to simply pray for them, he won me over. We are fortunate to have a crew of people in the local Helper’s chapter who are experienced at sidewalk counseling. While we are praying on the boulevard (some 200-300 on average in the quarterly vigils), they are working with a great deal of compassion to talk people out of their abortions. I have witnessed some extraordinary grace on the part of these counselors, who go up to the women approaching the clinic, with love. There are many success stories. Some people have actually come back to the clinic just to seek out the counselors to show them the baby they saved. I think there is a shift in the pro-life movement to this kind of work. We have to be there not only with our prayers and loving support for people about to commit these atrocities, but pool money together and resources for the crisis pregnancy centers that will work with them. This is why I ask whether it is prudent for hundreds, if not thousands of dollars, to go towards bail. I’m talking strictly about those who intend to be arrested, not like that minister in California who was arrested on goofy charges.For those interested, I have taken many pictures at the Helpers of God’s Precious Infants vigils in metro Detroit, chronicled in my HGPI-Michigan label at Te Deum Laudamus! and the HGPI-Michigan site.



report abuse
 

Diane M. Korzeniewski, OCDS

posted May 16, 2009 at 10:12 pm


I should add to my last post, that the local chapter of Helpers here in Detroit makes it a point to have one of the local bishops, or monsignors lead the vigil. Every couple of years Msgr. Reilly pays a visit, but it’s clear they get the local Church involved. In one of the picture sets in my label for HGPI-Michigan I provided above, you will see the rector of Sacred Heart Major Seminary in a rainy day on the boulevard, wearing his cassock with red sash. This man actually got down on his knees in the pooring rain for the moment of silence just before we departed the clinic.



report abuse
 

Chris Sullivan

posted May 16, 2009 at 10:19 pm


I only watched the start of the video, but the campus police did seem to be very gentle in handling the priest, who I understand was arrested for trespass. It appears his group were warned that they would be arrested if they trespassed and they decided to trespass and so invite arrest.http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/us_obama_notre_dameThe arrested priest would appear to be in violation of the request by the local Bishop John D’Arcy who has urged Catholics “to stay away from unseemly and unhelpful demonstrations”.http://www.ncregister.com/daily/darcy_opposes_terrys_nd_circusI support those arrested for following their consciences and taking action for life, but I do wonder about the wisdom of this action.God Bless



report abuse
 

Deacon Greg Kandra

posted May 16, 2009 at 11:08 pm


Diane…All our vigils are led by a bishop. The one I attended today was led by retired Bishop Thomas Daily of Brooklyn. He was also the celebrant for the mass that began the vigil, and the Benediction which concluded it. Dcn. G.



report abuse
 

Diane M. Korzeniewski, OCDS

posted May 16, 2009 at 11:22 pm


Deacon, It must be a national thing with Helpers then, to get local bishops involved, which I think is awesome. They need to be seen at the front lines of peaceful, prayerful vigils. We have had retired bishops, as well as active bishops. I would imagine that Archbishop Vigneron will be involved periodically. Come to think of it, I would not be suprised to see Abp Dolan out there in New York at a future Helpers vigil.



report abuse
 

Greta

posted May 16, 2009 at 11:57 pm


If this did not fit in the definition of a peaceful protest as defined by Bishop D’Arcy, then not sure how much more peaceful one can get. What a threat that ND had to remove, an 80 year old priest carrying a cross. I hope that Jenkins is proud of his actions. Jesus mother is certainly not proud of him in any way. So much for wanting to have dialogue in the University. Arrest anyone that has a diffent viewpoint. Jenkins has to go and they need to clean out the rest of the hive of busy dissenters at ND. The damage to that University will take years to repair.



report abuse
 

Chris Sullivan

posted May 17, 2009 at 1:03 am


According to the account below, it looks like the arrested priest was part of Randall Terry’s group. They were warned that they would be arrested for trespass if they entered the university grounds. They chose to enter and were therefore arrested.Another group led by Bishop A’Arcy has been conducting peaceful and lawful protests inside Notre Dame university, with the apparent approval and cooperation of the university authorities. This would seem to be a more appropriate form of protest.The arrested priest seems to have something of the track record for being arrested in this type of protest.Among those arrested Friday: … – The Rev. Norman Weslin, 78, of Council Bluff, Iowa, was charged with trespassing and resisting arrest. He is a Catholic priest and founder of the Lambs of Christ, an anti-abortion organization. Weslin is a priest of the Society of the Oblates of Wisdom, a clerical association based in La Crosse, Wis. He has been arrested many times across the country during abortion protests. Friday’s protest was organized by activist and Operation Rescue founder Randall Terry, who has been living in South Bend and leading protests against Notre Dame for more than six weeks. He was arrested May 1 for trespassing on campus. Terry attended Friday’s gathering, but didn’t step on campus and was not arrested. About 40 protesters with anti-abortion signs were standing near Notre Dame’s main gate when a group of about 50 more people led by Keyes and Terry approached the gate on foot. Some members of the group carried a large cross. They stopped to pray and listen to Keyes speak. “It is not consistent with God’s love to honor those who have rejected that great gift of love in principle,” Keyes told the gathering. About 30 protesters then walked north on the sidewalk onto campus, carrying banners and praying the Rosary. Police were ready and waiting for them. About 100 yards onto campus, Notre Dame Security Police stopped the marchers, then told them they could leave or face arrest for trespassing on private property. Several South Bend and St. Joseph County officers stood nearby. Some of the protesters voluntarily left campus. The 21 others, one by one, were arrested, placed in plastic handcuffs and escorted to waiting buses to be taken to jail. Keyes was the first arrested. After officers restrained Weslin in plastic handcuffs, the priest fell to his knees and began singing “Ave Maria.”http://www.southbendtribune.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20090516/News01/905160320/1011/NewsGod Bless



report abuse
 

Christopher

posted May 17, 2009 at 1:04 am


Greta, you hit the nail right on the head. How much more peaceful can you really get? Was he causing some great distrubance or inciting a crowd? No, he was carrying a cross to show his support for the unborn along with his fellow Christians and simply because Fr. Jenkins doesn’t like disagreement in his university, he had him arrested. Who does Fr, Jenkins report to anyway? Does he not have a bishop or the head of an order to force a real change. This man acts as though he were a bishop himself. In all seriousness, is it the board of trustees? If so, does that make them of equal authority as a bishop? Now, for all those reading this, I know they are not bishops and have no canonical authority as such, but if a priest answers to them and not to a bishop or head of an order, then how does that fit with the Church’s teaching and chain of authority so to speak?



report abuse
 

Mhari Dubh

posted May 17, 2009 at 2:00 am


They are not arresting anyone who has a different viewpoint. They are arresting protesters who are trespassing on private property. There are multiple reports that people have been told that if they trespass they will be arrested.Good on the protesters who are willing to be arrested for the cause.God Bless those Police Officers who were very careful with the priest. God Bless them for doing a job that more often than not they don’t get thanked for. Unfortunate that the Pastor who spoke at the end of the video said their “lives are dedicated to arresting priests”. What a terrible thing to say.



report abuse
 

elizabeth

posted May 17, 2009 at 2:39 am


I don’t recall people protesting about Catholic protestors when Martin Sheen and the like do so, and get arrested. WHY is it always Pro-Lifers that are chided harshly for standing for LIFE!? Do people come out to taunt and spit, yell at Catholic protestors that show up at Military sites? What is it about men and women protesting for the LIFE of the unborn that riles people so?A police officer commented at YOUTUBE that it actually does hurt to be hand cuffed (even with those non-metal cuffs) – as the hands are pulled behind ones back, and the wrists flipped – palms turned upwards. He is 80 years old!The 40 days for Life web site February 25 – April 5, 2009433 babies saved recently shared of a woman changing her mind on the sidewalk of the abortion mill – read about the protestor who changed lives, and the brave woman who changed her mind and holds her beautiful baby in the picture, (names and info at link: http://40daysforlife.com/blog/?p=237)



report abuse
 

Clayton

posted May 17, 2009 at 7:24 am


I was surprised to learn that the senior class at ND chose to honor Father Jenkins as the Senior Class Fellow. http://tinyurl.com/jenkinsfellow



report abuse
 

Mike L

posted May 17, 2009 at 11:10 am


I was impress by the gentleness that the police exhibited in making the arrest, good for them.I question how peaceful any protest can be that violates the law. My front yard is private property, and should a group of protesters decide to march there in violation of the law I would certainly have them arrested as I suspect most people would.I would not choose to have my family illegally exposed exposed to graphic images of violence nor would I care to take a chance on what other illegal actions such protesters might make.While I was against the Viet Nam war I was also opposed to the priests and protests that poured fake blood over the draft records. I believe these protesters fall into the same category.As Catholics we claim the means does not justify the end, yet here is an attempt justify illegal actions to obtain a good end. I think that something is wrong here.Peace to all,Mike L



report abuse
 

Patm

posted May 17, 2009 at 1:07 pm


My spouse made the point that the press is trying to make the protesters out to be a vulgar and unlikable as possible.



report abuse
 

adriano

posted May 17, 2009 at 1:07 pm


A bishop proposed to change the name of the Notre Dame University to “Nortwestern Indiana Humanist University…”Now is better to erase the humanist too….



report abuse
 

Marilyn Heller

posted May 17, 2009 at 7:32 pm


Father Benedict Groeschel has been arrested along with Father Weslin in the past. In addition to Father Groeschel, an elderly Catholic bishop (Bishop Lynch) and a young friar (now a priest, Fr. Fidelis Moschinski) were arrested for praying the rosary in front of a clinic in Dobbs Ferry, New York. They were prosecuted to the hilt and I was part of a group of lawyers representing them. When the weight of the government is brought to bear against protesters, it is quite a thing. Father Groeschel, et al, were arrested, prosecuted and jailed under New York State law. This was not enough for the federal government under President Clinton. The U.S. attorney decided to prosecute them as well. When the defendants were found innocent at the lower court level, it was again, not enough for our federal government. They appealed to the court of appeals. When this was not enough, they appealed to the full bench of the court of appeals.You are fooling yourself if you think that the government is going to allow quiet protest to go on. I also have prayed and marched with Msgr. Reilly. He is always peaceful. That did not stop the New York City council from passing a law allowing him and his followers to be arrested without a shred of evidence that they were violating any law.Giving President Obama a platform at Notre Dame merely emboldens the government. Brace yourselves ladies and gentlemen…things are going to get rough, whether you use Msgr. Reilly’s approach or that of Father Weslin. It’s easy to post comments on a blog. Are you ready to stand up for your faith at the risk of imprisonment? I am not overstating the case when I say it may be coming to that.



report abuse
 

Greta

posted May 18, 2009 at 1:56 am


Private property violations. Yep that is a good reason for a Catholic University to use to arrest a Catholic Priest trying to protest to protect life. This is the same action that an abortion clinic would use that was seeing its business hurt by protests. Very fitting actions for Jenkins who sits on the board of another organization that supports abortion in its handbook. I posted on that above so will not repeat. So we have a president who supports all forms of killing babies and a Catholic University President with his arms tightly wrapped around him in love and understanding arresting pro life 80 year old priests. Bishops need to act now on this thug.



report abuse
 

Mhari Dubh

posted May 18, 2009 at 8:35 pm


Greta.They were breaking a law. They were trespassing. They chose to do it. They get arrested.There’s no “that’s a good reason”. They were warned.I admire people who are willing to be arrested for their beliefs. Unfortunately in my chosen profession an arrest record (regardless of reason) might be problematic.



report abuse
 

Greta

posted May 18, 2009 at 10:38 pm


mhari dubhsaid “I admire people who are willing to be arrested for their beliefs. Unfortunately in my chosen profession an arrest record (regardless of reason) might be problematic.” I suspect that was the reason for some of the arrests on the Friday and Saturday before the even with Obama as a means of intimidation. Most people would prefer not to have an arrest record either. However, there is no reason that I can see for a Catholic University ever to push enforcement of protesting that results in the arrest of an 80 year old Catholic Priest. Frankly, that is stupid. I also see from another post that he was arrested before with Father Benedict Groeschel which puts him in some very fine company.



report abuse
 

Mhari Dubh

posted May 18, 2009 at 10:45 pm


So…hmmm…they should enforce the no trespassing but only selectively.Sounds like a bad plan. It’s okay if the 80 year-old priest trespasses, we won’t arrest him. The 30 year-old woman who trespasses will get arrested. Or no wait, we won’t enforce the no trespassing at all and be overrun by the crazies. (Don’t argue with me over crazies, we know they’re there).



report abuse
 

Sudsy

posted May 19, 2009 at 3:55 pm


Funny how they selectively place cordons at a Catholic University and decide not to allow peaceful, and I dare say prayerful protest on campus. Meanwhile, I’m sure the anti-war demonstrators get just about free reign to interrupt whom ever they please (especially at other universities).Fr. Reilly’s description of the Road to Calvary is very true here. Don’t forget to pray for those police, who to my professional eye, handled the situation as well as they could under the scrutiny of the media present and the age of the priest. As an LEO myself, I know I’d never volunteer to serve on such a cordon myself due to my personal beliefs and that they would interfere with my ability to conduct the mission properly. Many LEO’s, like those present, are professional enough to set those views aside and just do the job, even if they don’t like it and have to arrest someone they don’t want to.Pray for those police in the video. While you are at it, read Matthew 27:55, about the Legionaries standing guard on Calvary, among the first to come to the conclusion that they just executed the Son of God (I’m quite positive, life was never the same again for them, they may very well have been converts later in they’re military careers). Perhaps,the same might be true here. Police deal with the worst of society and get a rather poisoned view of people in general, in particularly people they don’t know. Perhaps interaction with Fr. Weslin might change more hearts than we sitting here cozy on our computers can ever comprehend.



report abuse
 

Post a Comment

By submitting these comments, I agree to the beliefnet.com terms of service, rules of conduct and privacy policy (the "agreements"). I understand and agree that any content I post is licensed to beliefnet.com and may be used by beliefnet.com in accordance with the agreements.



Previous Posts

This blog is no longer active
This blog is no longer being actively updated. Please feel free to browse the archives or: Read our most popular inspiration blog See our most popular inspirational video Take our most popular quiz

posted 10:42:40pm Dec. 12, 2010 | read full post »

One day more
A reminder: "The Deacon's Bench" is closed! Please enjoy the archives!

posted 11:26:20pm Dec. 11, 2010 | read full post »

Meet Montana's married priest
Earlier this week, I posted an item about Montana getting its first married priest. Now a local TV station has hopped on the bandwagon. Take a look, below.

posted 10:29:55pm Dec. 11, 2010 | read full post »

Big day in the Big Easy: 10 new deacons
Deacon Mike Talbot has the scoop: 10 men today were ordained as Permanent Deacons for the Archdiocese of New Orleans. This group of men was formally selected on the day the evacuation of New Orleans began as Hurricane Katrina approached. The immediate aftermath of the storm for this class would be

posted 6:55:42pm Dec. 11, 2010 | read full post »

Gaudete! And let's break out a carol or two...
"Gesu Bambino," anyone? This is one of my favorites, and nobody does it better than these gals: Kathleen Battle and Frederica von Staade. Enjoy.

posted 1:04:10pm Dec. 11, 2010 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.