This is exactly what we didn’t want to see happen. A 69-year-old man was arrested after he refused to leave a church in Winchester, Mass., following the final Mass. The man wouldn’t leave, so the pastor called the cops, and the cops took him out in handcuffs. Of course, this was a lone protester, not an organized sit-in, so what was he going to do, stay in the church 24/7 by himself? This was not the height of rational action.
While not exactly supporting what the pastor did, the archdiocese didn’t throw him the wolves either (at least not in public):
“This priest took the action in the circumstance that he thought was best,” Ann Carter, a spokeswoman for the archdiocese, said last night. “This does not reflect a change in archdiocesan policy, and he did not take this action at the direction of the archdiocese.”
But what did happen was that the protesters at other former parishes got their martyr. The so-called “Council of Parishes” is trumpeting this as a “major escalation,” although it is no such thing. They also claimed that the man was denied his canon law rights because he was denied sanctuary. That’s plainly ridiculous. What was he seeking sanctuary from?