By Annalisa Pesek - thenewamerican.com
Over the Easter weekend, the most holy of the Christian holidays, bold attempts to enforce coronavirus restrictions led authorities in London to intimidate churchgoers and interrupt and close down Good Friday Mass. In Alberta, Canada, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) attempted to halt a Saturday Passover service.
Released in London on Friday was appalling video footage capturing two uniformed police officers taking to the pulpit at the request of the priest of South London's Christ the King Polish Roman Catholic Church during the middle of a Good Friday Mass. The priest, visibly shaken, demands that the officers explain to the congregation why they are interrupting the service.
A male officer then states, "Ladies and gentleman, this gathering is unfortunately unlawful under the coronavirus regulations we have currently." Standing next to him is a female officer whose arms are folded tightly across her chest, evoking a threatening stance of authority.
He continues, "You are not allowed to meet inside with this many people under law. At this moment in time, you need to go home. Failure to comply with this direction to leave and go to your home address ultimately could lead you to be fined 200. Or if you fail to give your details to you being arrested. I suggest ... though it is Good Friday and I appreciate that you would like to worship, that this gathering is unlawful. So please may you leave."
The scene is eerily reminiscent of the history that led up to the horrors of World War II, the rise of Nazi Germany, the Soviet takeover in Communist Russia, or Mao Tse-tung's "Great Leap Forward."
In a statement from the Metropolitan Police, as reported by the British Daily Mail on Friday, "Officers attended and found a large number of people inside the church. Some people were not wearing masks and those present were clearly not socially distanced. Understanding the sensitivity of the situation, officers engaged with the priest outside the church and were invited inside to address the congregation. No fixed penalty notices were issued."
However, according to churchgoer Tomsz Niewiadomski, who attended Friday's mass, "Everyone was wearing masks and sitting apart from each other. There was a booking system so there was only a certain number of people inside. We know we have to respect the law. It seemed like the police did not know what we could and couldn't do."
Another parishioner explained, "We respected the rules to do with Covid, people are allowed to go to church as long as we follow the rules. It doesn't make sense what the police did. If you go to the supermarket people are gathered inside, even closer together and it is allowed."
While some worshippers appeared to be angered, many followed the rules, obliging the government's tyrannical edicts to limit services on one of the most important calendar days of the year for Christians.
Today, Easter Sunday, congregants returned to Christ the King to celebrate Easter services. Dozens of families were forced to listen outside in compliance with oppressive government-mandated COVID rules. Photos taken inside the church today portray worshippers socially distanced, with no more than five-six to a pew. The images are stark.
"Normally there would be many, many people, but on Friday there were only a few compared to previous years... The timing of the police intervention was also bad because the police came in before we could take the eucharist, which for us is very important. Also the police were not very respectful. The female officer came in, walked around and stood on the altar. I don't know if she doesn't believe in God, but it could have been handled better and more respectfully," said another member of the parish.
Following Friday's disruption, Christ the Believer Parafia (parish priest) Chrystusa Krola declared the Metropolitan Police "brutally exceeded their powers." "We asked the police authorities to explain the incident and we are waiting for their response," Krola said, urging attendees of Friday's Mass to submit formal complaints to the police.
"Bishop of Buckingham Rt. Rev Alan Wilson also questioned breaking up the service, telling Channel 4 News that the 'Government needs to clarify its coronavirus guidelines for churches,'" according to the Daily News.
Social media erupted with comments, berating authorities for their "disgraceful" and "deeply offensive" handling of the situation. "There were 10 cases give or take reported in the whole of Wandsworth with population over 300k... Local supermarkets were much more packed yesterday. The police response was disproportionate and seems to be targeting the Polish community," tweeted Bounette.
Why are people not angry? Where is the outrage?
The message is clear: This is headed into a far darker place. If more people and more pastors are not willing to risk fines and arrest to keep houses of worship open and operating at full capacity, the government's overreach of power will escalate. Tragically, people remain overwhelmingly obedient.
Conversely, Polish Pastor Artur Pawlowski of Street Church Ministries in Calgary, Alberta, "a multi-denominational, multi-ethnical ministry of believers, who have been reborn in the spirit of the Lord," banished six police officers who showed up at his church property interrupting Passover services held on the evening of Saturday, April 3.
In a powerful video that went viral online, Pastor Pawlowski can be heard repeatedly yelling at the police, demanding they "get out immediately!"
Shouting in a thick Eastern European accent, the pastor who escaped communism in Poland and has openly protested against Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's authoritarian government demands that the uniformed officers who can be seen standing near the entrance of the building for the entire length of the severe five-minute video "immediately go out and don't come back."
"I don't want to talk to you... I don't care what you have to say. Out, out, out, of this property, Nazis!" Says Pastor Pawlowski to a female officer. "Go, go, and don't come back without a warrant... Nazis are not welcome here, Gestapos are not welcome here. Do not come back you Nazi psychopaths. Unbelievable, sick, evil people. Intimidating people in the church during the Passover. You Gestapos, Nazis, Communists, Fascists. Don't you dare coming back here."
The pastor then turns the camera on himself and cries, "what is wrong with those sick psychopaths. It's beyond me... How dare they... We're living in a takeover of the government with their facts, guns, brown shirts ... coming to the church armed with guns and tasers and handcuffs to intimidate during Passover celebration."
"They want to enslave us all like the Egyptians. They want to be Pharaohs of today. People, if you will not wake up, stand up. I don't know what is going to happen tomorrow if Canadians do not rise up. Look what is happening in Germany... You can't even leave from one city to the other. Is that the future you want? Is that the future you want for your children and your grandchildren?"
"Friends, you have to join the fight... We have rallies every week... We need to file lawsuits against their craziness right now while we still have that window of opportunity. Because if we don't do it now, I don't think we are going to have tomorrow. Our rights are being taken away from us so quickly, it's unbelievable."
Pastor Pawlowski has been very outspoken in his warnings against "encroaching Communism," as governments tighten their grips on communities in the name of health and safety. He has held weekly Gospel readings on the steps of Calgary's City Hall, as he stands bravely for the liberty to worship freely.
Be very carful about the choices you make, life was hard on collaborators in 1945,
You never hear about this happening at a Mosque. Like the person in Colorado with his bakery, it's Christians who are targeted.