A Polish Catholic parish in London, England, said Saturday that it believed that police “grossly exceeded their powers” when they halted a Good Friday service and ordered parishioners to go home.
Police officers interrupted the Good Friday liturgy at Christ the King Church in Balham, south London, on April 2, ordering worshipers to leave or face a fine or possible arrest.
A video posted on YouTube showed a police officer addressing the congregation from a pulpit in the sanctuary of the church, informing them that the gathering was “unlawful” under current coronavirus restrictions.
An April 3 statement on the parish’s website said: “On Good Friday, April 2, during the Liturgy of the Lord’s Passion, at the moment of the Adoration of the Cross, at about 6 p.m., the police came to the door of our church. We were not allowed to finish the celebration.”
“The police officers, stating that our liturgical assembly was unlawful, ordered everyone to leave our church immediately under the threat of a fine for each of the parishioners present of £200 [around $277] or even arrest. The faithful obeyed this order without objection.”
“We believe, however, that the police grossly exceeded their powers by issuing their order without adequate reason, as all government requirements were met.”
A priest at the church told CNA on Saturday that he believed the parish was treated “very unfairly.”
“We believe that we and our faithful were treated very unfairly, even on such an important day for believers,” assistant priest Fr. Aleksander Dasik said.
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