WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden’s administration is shrugging off anxieties surrounding calls for pro-abortion Mother’s Day protests in churches as Catholic parishes brace themselves for disruptions.
In an email to parishioners Friday, Reverend William Gurnee of St. Joseph’s parish on Capitol Hill announced that he had just received information from the police chaplain for the Archdiocese of Washington indicating that “the protesters at the Supreme Court might seek to disrupt Mass this weekend.”
“We have asked for the police to be ready to intervene,” Gurnee said in the email, which was obtained by The Daily Wire. “Therefore, if the protesters come into the church, we are not to engage with them.”
“No matter which side of an issue a person is on, we should have the right to worship in peace,” he said. “We will be respectful to them and we hope they are respectful of us. 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 Daily Wire also reviewed an email from St. Peter’s parish on Capitol Hill in which the pastor said there exists “a credible threat of our masses being disrupted this weekend by protestors.” The email asks parishioners to ignore such disruptions and focus on the mass.
The Archdiocese of Washington did not immediately respond to requests for comment for this story.
Such disruptions would be a grave violation of the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act, according to the former director of the Office of Civil Rights at the United States Department of Health and Human Services, Roger Severino, who said that such protests “absolutely can and should be prosecuted.”
The FACE Act prohibits “violent, threatening, damaging and obstructive conduct intended to injure, intimidate, or interfere with the right” to obtain abortions. It also bans the use of force, physical obstruction, injury, or intimidation to “injure, intimidate or interfere with any person lawfully exercising or seeking to exercise the First Amendment right of religious freedom at a place of religious worship.”
“It’s despicable, anti-Catholic bigotry,” Severino told The Daily Wire, “because the church stands in defense of innocent human life. It doesn’t get any more offensive than that, to try to interfere with somebody’s First Amendment freedoms in the name of supporting abortion on demand.”
“It’s shocking in one sense, but also it’s the logical consequences of the devaluing of life that has resulted as a consequence of Roe versus Wade, which has poisoned our court, our courts, our culture,” he added. “And our unity as a country.”
Protestors have also promised to demonstrate outside the homes of the conservative Supreme Court justices, but asked if Biden condones the publishing of the Supreme Court justices locations, White House Press Secretary said that Biden’s view “is that there is a lot of passion.”
“I wouldn’t say he has a view on that,” Psaki said Friday, asked if the president wants protestors to influence the justices.
“The president believes in peaceful protest,” Psaki said. “He believes that is part of our Democracy and part of the history of the United States and this country. But he also respects and understand the independence of the third branch of government…and the role of the Supreme Court and what they play.”
The White House has not responded to The Daily Wire’s requests for comment regarding the doxxing of the justices or the projected protests in Catholic Churches, though the president and his administration repeatedly tout his Catholic faith even in abortion contexts (the Catholic Church teaches that abortion is a crime against human life).
“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,” Metropolitan Police Department public information officer Hugh Carew told the Daily Wire on Friday. “We have increased available resources, including the activation of our Civil Disturbance Units, in preparation for these activities.”
On Thursday, Catholic Vote called on Biden to publicly condemn any effort to disrupt Catholic masses by pro-abortion protestors. The group also called on the Biden administration and Attorney General Merrick Garland on Friday to protect Catholic churches, reminding Garland that he has “an obligation to alert every U.S. Attorney across the country and remind them of the law and their duty to enforce” the FACE Act.
“The aggressive rage exhibited by pro-abortion advocates over the past week, and the plans of anti-Catholic zealots to disrupt Catholic masses around the country this weekend, is a vile attempt to harass, threaten, and intimidate,” Catholic Vote President Brian Burch said in a statement. “It is religious bigotry of the worst kind. It is also against the law.”
“It’s either tone deaf or callous or both,” Severino said. “There are pro-life people, including our Supreme Court justices, being threatened with violence because they’re taking a stand against violence in the womb. That’s a supreme irony. Psaki didn’t mention any of that. She wants to shift the focus onto anything other than the threats on pro-lifers in America, including constitutionalist judges and the threats to unborn life in the world.”
The former former director of the Office of Civil Rights warned that the threats from pro-abortion protestors indicate the United States is “entering a dangerous phase.”
“It’s to be expected, when the culture of death wants to hold on to its power, it will stop at nothing,” he said. “And there’s no depths to which it will not go to push its deadly agenda.”