Bishop D’Arcy says planned demonstrations “unseemly and unhelpful”

Bishop D'Arcy

Bishop D'Arcy

This was news to us, though perhaps you’ve already seen it: Bishop John M. D’Arcy of Fort Wayne-South Bend, Ind., issued a new statement late last week calling on Catholics not to attend planned demonstrations when President Obama speaks at Notre Dame next month because they can be “unseemly and unhelpful.”

He also said he had a “positive meeting” with the president of the university, “and I expect further dialogue will continue.”

Here’s our story today.

TUESDAY UPDATE: Anti-abortion activist Randall Terry, who has opened an office in South Bend to protest the Obama speech (as noted in our story), responded to Bishop D’Arcy this morning in an opinion column published in the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette.

Holy Week actions connect Crucifixion with peacemaking

Catholic peace activist Paul Magno was arrested soon after he was chained to the White House fence in a "contemporary crucifixion" Good Friday as part of a campaign to close the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Catholic peace activist Paul Magno was arrested soon after he was chained to the White House fence in a "contemporary crucifixion" Good Friday as part of a campaign to close the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. (Photo from Witness Against Torture)

Among Catholic peacemakers Holy Week has become a time of witnessing for peace and prayerful resistance while recalling Christ’s crucifixion. Catholics were among 23 people arrested in at least three vigils across the country on Holy Thursday and Good Friday.

The largest group of arrests came during the annual Nevada Desert Experience at Creech Air Force Base 40 miles northwest of Las Vegas. Fourteen people were charged with trespass after walking through an open gate seeking to talk with Air Force soldiers piloting unmanned drones over Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Kathy Kelly of Voices for Creative Nonviolence, one of those arrested, told Catholic News Service the group wanted to ask why attacks on innocent people were being carried out.

“It’s a new form of warfare in which a soldier doesn’t leave the base but yet can wreak terrible havoc on people,” she said.
Other arrested include Jesuit Fathers John Dear and Steve Kelly; Franciscan Fathers Louis Vitale and Jerry Zawada; Holy Child of Jesus Sister Megan Rice; and Catholic Workers Mariah Klusmire of Albuquerque, N.M., Brian Terrell of Maloy, Iowa, and Renee Espeland of Des Moines, Iowa. Arraignments are set for June 9.

On Good Friday eight people were arrested at the Pentagon for praying around a cross outside of a designated protest zone. They were among 50 people wearing black robes and white masks to symbolize the war dead. They had been part of a Holy Week Faith and Resistance retreat in Washington put together by the Jonah House community in Baltimore and Dorothy Day Catholic Worker in Washington.

Charged with disobeying a lawful order of a government agent and given a June 19 court date were Molly Brechtel, Susan Crane, Nancy Gowan, Brian Hynes, Bill Frankel-Streit, Art Laffin, Sister Margaret McKenna and David Ryle.

Longtime Catholic peace activist Paul Magno of Washington was arrested during a noon hour witness Good Friday at the White House in which he was chained to a fence in a “contemporary crucifixion” as a group of people sang “Were You There When They Crucified My Lord?” His action was part of Witness Against Torture’s 100 Day Campaign to close the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

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