Archbp. Gregory

Archbishop Gregory

Michael Voris reports for ChurchMilitant.com – In a bald-faced violation of their individual civil rights as American citizens, Washington, D.C.’s Abp. Wilton Gregory is ordering his clergy to dress in cassocks (or at least blacks) and protest President Trump at 11 a.m. Monday morning at Lafayette Park, and then march to the White House at noon

It’s being billed as a pro-life, anti-racism rally, but at least one email from the archdiocese to clergy being circulated (see below) explicitly calls it a “protest”:

Let us gather to rededicate ourselves to the defense of all life and recommit ourselves to pray for end to racism.

We will assemble at Lafayette Park beginning from 11 a.m. on Monday, June 8. At exactly noon, we will begin with prayer and move in prayer toward the White House.

Things you may need:

Clergy and Religious, please wear cassock, habit or black clericals

Do not forget to grab a bottle of water and a hat/cap.

You are welcome to bring appropriate signs/posters.

Remember that social distancing may be difficult, so do not forget your mask.

The best way to travel to the park is by using Metro and getting off at the McPherson Square Station. If you drive, please note that parking is limited in some areas of downtown Washington at this time.

Inside sources tell Church Militant that Gregory is angry at the local D.C. Knights of Columbus who had invited President Trump to the John Paul II National Shrine, an invitation reportedly extended weeks earlier.

The sources inform Church Militant that Gregory retaliated against the local council and ordered them to send out an email to their own pro-life list and to bill it as a “pro-life rally.” Threatened behind the scenes by Gregory, the D.C. Knights complied. The email reads:

Brother Knights,

Archbishop Gregory has invited local clergy, bishops and the Catholic lay faithful to publicly witness against institutional racism and to pray for the soul of George Floyd and the soul of this country.  We gather at 11 a.m. in Lafayette Park and proceed to the White House at noon.  Please spread the word.  Further details from the Archdiocese are below.

Fr. Pat Smith

Former State Chaplain

Catholic Protest on Monday, June 8 at Noon

Please join the Catholic faithful in a public witness to pray for the soul of George Floyd and the soul of America. Join local Catholic bishops, clergy and lay faithful as we pray and move with Christian solidarity to lift our country up in prayer. Let us gather to rededicate ourselves to the defense of all life and recommit ourselves to an anti-racism agenda.

Our mission: to pray for a change of heart, an end to hatred and institutional discrimination of all kinds.

The email then sets forth the same instructions on the protest as sent to clergy, ending with a note that Fr. Cornelius Ejiogu, SSJ, pastor of St. Luke Parish, is coordinating the effort. 

In addition to an obvious violation of civil rights (an employer cannot order employees to participate in a political protest), the “rally” is also timed to coincide with another protest where leaders will be boisterously demanding that Trump be deposed. D.C. insiders tell Church Militant that Gregory is trying to pull a “fast one” and “mingle D.C. clergy into that other rally” to make it appear that his clergy also want Trump deposed.

According to those close to the unfolding events, Gregory is trying to orchestrate a media event whereby national news outlets will report that the “Catholic Church in America does not believe Trump is fit for office” and is using his own clergy to paint that picture.

 

Update

Several priests of the archdiocese told CNA they were surprised by this invitation, given the potentially volatile atmosphere that has accompanied some demonstrations outside the White House in the past week.

Two priests of the archdiocese, who spoke on condition of anonymity out of concern for ecclesiastical repercussions, told CNA that the event was “very unexpected,” and not consistent with diocesan guidelines regarding social distancing amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“We have been told for weeks that we cannot meet groups of the faithful, open our churches, serve in our parishes. Now they want us to take to the streets,” one priest told CNA.

A priest planning to attend the event expressed to CNA his concern that photos of priests in clerical garb outside the White House could be used for partisan purposes.

“I’ve been a priest here for more than a decade,” the priest told CNA. “I cannot remember ever being invited to wear a cassock to a public event organized by the chancery. It seems like they [just] want some good pictures.”

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