Home/Rod Dreher/Nathan Phillips Vs. The Mass

Nathan Phillips Vs. The Mass

Nathan Phillips address protesters outside DC's Basilica Shrine of the Immaculate Conception on Saturday night (Michelle Brass/Facebook)

The more I read about that liar activist Nathan Phillips, the angrier I get about him. He’s like a third-rate Saul Alinsky. Now Catholic News Agency reports that he and his merry band of righteous dudes tried to invade the Basilica Shrine of the Immaculate Conception during mass on Saturday –– this, after they instigated the confrontation with the Covington Catholic kids down by the Lincoln Memorial. CNA quotes a security guard at the shrine saying Phillips and his crew tried to enter the basilica chanting and banging on a drum while mass was going on. Security locked the doors. More:

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation reported that about 60 people gathered outside the shrine in support of Phillips on Saturday night, though it did not mention reports that Phillips and some supporters attempted to disrupt the evening Mass.

Video footage showed one supporter saying that the group had gathered at the shrine to listen to Phillips, and to hold the Catholic Church “accountable” for the alleged actions of the Covington Catholic students and for the “colonial violence that the Catholic Church reproduces every day.”

A photograph attached to the post shows Phillips addressing the group outside the shrine.

The security guard told CNA that the incident was especially distressing given that Mass was underway.

“It’s a house of worship, a place of prayer where people come to celebrate. All this anger is so against what we are all about here.”

Michelle Brass, a Canadian activist put photos and a description of the event on her Facebook page. She said that the impromptu demonstration at the Shrine was called after the confrontation between the Covington teens and Phillips. Brass did not show Phillips and others trying to enter the basilica. The point is, the protesters were at least there outside the basilica during evening mass, and had specifically gathered there to protest against the Catholic schoolboys.

The basilica’s spokesperson would neither confirm nor deny this attempt by protesters to defile the holiest ritual of Roman Catholicism. I guess they’re trying not to add fuel to the national fire, or maybe they were trying to clarify what happened before speaking out. But absent a forceful statement today, it sure looks like the basilica’s administration is unwilling to defend the sanctity of the basilica by even acknowledging that anti-Catholic activists tried to disrupt the holy sacrifice of the mass — which is, you know, a big deal.

Maybe they’re working from the same script as Bishop Roger Foys of the Diocese of Covington, Ky., and Covington Catholic High School’s administration, who jointly condemned the boys from his local high school without even talking to them. Neither has apologized, though this statement has been removed from the diocesan website:

Maybe they’re working from the same script that Father John Jenkins, president of the University of Notre Dame is, when he announced this week that the school will conceal 19th century murals depicting Columbus’s arrival in the New World — murals that had been commissioned by the university’s founder — because they offend some Native Americans and others. (I remind you that Father Jenkins has responded favorably to the requests from others to cover the Columbus murals because they are offensive to modern eyes, but he has not yet responded favorably to a petition drive from current ND students asking him to install a porn filter on the university’s open WiFi system.

That ND students might see a painted image of Columbus moves the priest-president of Notre Dame to shield their vision from those murals, but he is not as concerned that ND students might see orgies on the university’s WiFi system. Think about that.

Expect more attacks on Catholic institutions, even as those inside and outside the Church pretend it’s not happening, and it’s not what it pretty clearly is — even as the people outside the Church say the Church deserves it.

I mean, look, is the Saga of Nathan Phillips not an example of the Law of Merited Impossibility (“It will never happen, and when it does, you bigots will deserve it”)? He never provoked those Covington Catholic boys, and even though — okay, fine, the cameras show that he did — well, those bigots deserved it.

We’ve come to expect this malicious hypocrisy from the world. It’s a disgrace when church leaders, having allowed the world’s hatred to turn them into grateful dhimmis, decline to defend their own in the public square.

UPDATE: Reader Elizabeth, whose real name I know, and with whom I have exchanged e-mails in the past, so I know she’s genuinely on the left, comments:

My cousin’s friend had a 15-year-old daughter attending the March. Apparently Phillips and his crew first approached her with the chanting, in your face drumming, and screams about leaving America. The child reacted with fear which was not, apparently, the desired optic. The quickly left her and went over to where the boys were chanting, where they did the whole thing over again.

I have been left of center my entire life, so I consider myself a moderately left of center now, and I’m so ashamed of what progressivism has become. It used to be about solidarity. Now it is all about division.

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. He has written and edited for the New York Post, The Dallas Morning News, National Review, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the Washington Times, and the Baton Rouge Advocate. Rod’s commentary has been published in The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, the Weekly Standard, Beliefnet, and Real Simple, among other publications, and he has appeared on NPR, ABC News, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and the BBC. He lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with his wife Julie and their three children. He has also written four books, The Little Way of Ruthie Leming, Crunchy Cons, How Dante Can Save Your Life, and The Benedict Option.

leave a comment

Latest Articles