Pro-abortion protesters disrupted Mass at Catholic church in Chicago

Pro-abortion protesters are escorted from Mass at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Chicago, June 26, 2022. Pro-abortion protesters are escorted from Mass at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Chicago, June 26, 2022. | Screengrab of instagram video posted by troubleinthechi.

Pro-abortion protesters were quickly escorted out of a Mass last month at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Chicago, according to the church’s bulletin.

A video of the June 26 protest shows protesters standing up from the pews during Mass and entering the aisle to begin a demonstration. One of the protesters can then be heard reading aloud the statement of Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago regarding the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which returned the regulation of abortion to the states.

“This is the statement of the Archbishop of Chicago,” the protester shouted at the 11 a.m. Mass. The protester barely made it through the cardinal’s first sentence before someone can be heard shouting, “Get out of here! We’re in church!” 

More shouts can be heard directed at the protesters: “Get out of this place!” and “This is church!”

The protesters were holding signs, one of which said, “The Catholic Church had blood on its hands.”

About 20 seconds into the video a police officer can be seen approaching the protesters, who were shouting pro-abortion chants. According to the subtitles on the video, the chants were “pro-life it's a lie, you don’t care if we die,” and “not the church, not the state, only we decide our fate!”

The police officer and other people can be seen escorting the protesters from the church; some protesters are seen  shouting and resisting. 

At the protesters’ exit, someone can be heard screaming, “Shame on you!” 

In a July 3 bulletin message, the church’s pastor, Father Lawrence Lisowski, addressed the moment when the protest ended: “After a few minutes,” he said, “we were able to regain our composure and continue on with our prayer.”

“Certainly moments like these are very unsettling,” he added. Lawrence said that the parish has hired security officers for weekend Masses, weddings, and parish events over the past three years. 

“Sadly, this is a sign of our times, and a reflection of the fragile world that we live in,” he wrote.

A caption from the video which was posted on the Instagram account “troubleinthechi” says that the protesters “were responding to the Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago, which issued a statement celebrating the overturning of Roe v. Wade and demanding further destruction of reproductive rights in IL.”

In 2019 Illinois passed a law declaring abortion a "fundamental right" in the state and deregulating the practice. And in December 2021, a law was adopted repealing a requirement that minors in the state be required to notify a parent before procuring an abortion.

The video's caption also took aim at the Catholic Church’s international pro-life work. It called for disrupting more Masses, and encouraged people to “redecorate” pro-life pregnancy centers. The caption included a link for all the churches in the Archdiocese of Chicago and a link with a map of pro-life pregancy centers across the nation.

The Archdiocese of Chicago did not respond to CNA’s request for comment by time of publication. 

Although a police officer can be seen escorting protesters out in the video, it’s unclear whether anyone was arrested or charged with a crime. A spokesperson for the Chicago Police Department said they were not able to find “any calls of service or reports filed” at St. Joseph Catholic Church on June 26.

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CNA was unable to reach Lisowski for comment.

Catholic churches and pro-life pregnancy centers have come under attack in a string of vandalizations across the nation. Reports of attacks accelerated after a May 2 Supreme Court draft decision was leaked showing that the justices were poised to overturn Roe.

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