As a follow up to my earlier post about a Catholic pro-lifer being arrested on parish property for handing out pro-life bookmarks, I wrote a letter to the pastor of the parish, Fr. Brian F. Manning (email@example.com). I went easy on him because I don’t know if he was involved in the decision to have the pro-lifer arrested. The police report only mentions the name of another parishioner. If you decide to write, please keep this in mind. I’ll keep you posted about any response I receive.
Dear Father Manning,
I am writing in regards to a police report describing the arrest of a parishioner named Peter D’Attilio on the grounds of St. Mary’s parish during St. Rocco’s Festival earlier this month.
While there is some controversy regarding the alteraction between the police and Mr. D’Attilio, there is no controversy regarding the reason why the police intervened in the first place: the police report explains that another parishioner named Peter Brunelli, the chairman of the Festival, requested that the police remove Mr. D’Attilio from the property because he was handing out pro-life bookmarks to teenagers. No other offense was mentioned in the police report to justify Mr. D’Attilio’s removal.
How is this possible? Given that the Festival took place on church property, was organized by the parish and is named after St. Rocco, I have difficulty understanding how the distribution of pro-life material by a parishioner would constitute such a grave offense to the parish that Mr. Brunelli would judge it necessary to have the police remove Mr. D’Attilio from the premises.
This is very unsettling for Catholics like me that strive to answer Pope John Paul II’s call to build a Culture of Life. If pro-life Catholics are not tolerated in the parish, something is gravely wrong. This instance of persecution on church property will have a chilling effect throughout the community.
I trust that you will investigate this matter and take remedial action so that St. Mary’s parish teaches and witnesses to the integrity of the Catholic Faith.