Catholic priest, Fr Weslin, arrested at Catholic Univ for protesting abortion

May 15, 2009

Arrest #2
Side by side video: barry/Fr Weslin
The hood of honor vs the humiliation of handcuffs
Fr Weslin/Fr Jenkins/Notre Dame posts


In Denver, for the Democratic Convention, they had a warehouse full of cages ready. Actual cages – meant for American humans who dared to speak out against barry – were lined up one after the another with razor wire on top (indoor), locks and warnings that Tasers would be used. Video of cages.

I wonder if they have something like that set up in South Bend and if Father Weslin ended up in it, and whether he was encaged after his arrest in Denver.

On Friday (15th), 19 people were arrested on the campus of the once  Catholic University, Notre Dame, including 78 y/o Father Norman Weslin, founder of The Lambs of Christ, a non-violent Catholic pro-life organization. They protest by praying outside abortion facilities. They don’t throw bloody entrails at scared teenagers or plot abortion clinic bombings or attempt to mastermind assassinations of abortion doctors and nurses. They believe in the sacred Teachings of the Church, the sanctity of life being the most precious.

Fr Weslin took a sacred vow to defend those Teachings and that’s what he and his “Lambs” were doing. Praying the Rosary and singing  in protest of a Catholic University’s awarding an honor to a man, who not only believes abortion is legal, but voted against providing medical treatment for a fetus that somehow managed to survive the attempt on its life. A vote that man still lies about.

What type of Catholic priest would Fr Weslin be if he said nothing?

A Notre Dame faculty member, perhaps?

The President of the University, who sold his soul for an honorary award and photo op?

Leading off the protest was the ever-vocal ALAN KEYES, who has made no secret of his disdain for barry. The first arrested, his parting words:

I call on all Christian people to bear witness this betrayal of our faith.

CNN Video

Alan Keyes, former Republican presidential candidate, was among those arrested Friday.

Then came something I hope I never see again as long as I live. A nonviolent Catholic priest, on the grounds of a Catholic University, protesting the most sacred tenet of the Catholic Church, dressed in full habit, was taken to the ground, had his hands forcibly handcuffed behind his back and then was humiliatingly laid out on a blue fabric “stretcher” and hauled away like a piece of meat.

It is the most shocking thing I have witnessed directly related to barry’s actions.

Watch the video yourself.

No matter your views on abortion, embryonic stem cells, religion, politics or barry himself, ask yourself, honestly, if this makes you proud of your president and whether it makes you proud as an American. And then ask yourself if any award is worth what was done to this priest. His dignity stripped as he was taken to the ground with no regard for his habit, his hands pulled behind his back and then carried off like a lamb to slaughter.

Answer to your own conscience.

And then realize it isn’t quite 4 months into barry’s term.


Father Norman Weslin is being assisted by someone and appears unsteady on his feet. He truly cannot understand why they are arresting him even though he has been arrested many (>50) times, resulting in serious injury. This time, though, he is on what should be home territory – the campus of Notre Dame University.

I understand his incredulity.

Why should a Catholic priest have to protest against a Catholic University to uphold the Teachings of the Catholic Church?

It boggles the mind. Worse is the papal silence (until today – another post) and lack of outrage among Catholic Bishops and Cardinals.

(0:26) Father is told he is being arrested.

Bystander: God be with you, Father.

Bystander: Bless you Father.

Bystander 1: Bless you Father, in the name of Jesus. It’s a shame for Notre Dame today.

Father begins to sing and bystanders join in.

Immaculate Mary, your praises we sing,

You reign now in Splendor with Jesus your King.

(1:00) Father drops to the ground and four policemen surround him. He is not resisting – just trying to sing – and he is winded by the manhandling.

Disgusted bystander 1 repeats: Shame! Shame on Father Jenkins! [President of Notre Dame]

Father continues to sing:

Ave, Ave, Ave Maria,

Ave, Ave, Ave Maria.

He doesn’t pull his hand away while Policeman A slips a piece of rope over his wrist and pulls his hand behind his back – the other already behind him. They don’t have the decency to speak with him – he is manhandled and treated like a Saturday night drunk: impersonally and hear we go again.

Father continues to sing:

In Heaven, the Blessed, Your glory proclaim…

His hands are so high behind his back he has to bend forward.

Bystander 1 says something about Obama and it’s a Catholic University and ain’t nobody saying anything.

Except for her.

Father is still bent forward with his knees on the bare ground with three full-sized men and a woman trying to tie him up. He is not resisting – he continues to sing:

...On earth, your children invoke your sweet name…

Bystander 1 berates someone and repeats: Shame! Shame! Shame!

It is reassuring that one human being acknowledged what she was witnessing and made her thoughts known. Halfway through the arrest, after she begins to cry, her voice is no longer heard. One wonders what was done to her and by whom?

Father continues his singing:

....Ave, Ave, Ave Maria.

The policemen are still trying to bind his hands behind his back. The cameramen and photographers and reporters say nothing as they hover like pirahnas.

Maybe it look different through their lenses.

Father Weslin was not treated with respect and he was not given the simple deference a Man of God deserves. There was absolutely no need to handcuff his hands in the back. They could have handcuffed him in front so he could still hold his rosary and retain his dignity – something that should go unsaid.

It speaks volumes of all present, especially Policeman A, who appears to be in charge.

Father continues singing to Jesus’ mother:

Immaculate Mary, Your praises we sing,

Bystander 1 is crying.

Father starts to tip – with his hands secured behind his back, he is unable to balance himself. It’s remarkable how supple he is with his legs bunched under him.

He speaks:

Notre Dame…

Slapped on the shoulders and upper arms by Policeman A.

…is putting a priest–

Policeman A then puts both hands tight across Father Weslin’s shoulders, causing Father to grimace in pain. Freeze at (2:22) and ask yourself how it makes you feel. Ask yourself if you would feel differently if it were your relative, or a Holy Man of any other ethnicity, race or religion. And if so, why?

Father continues:

Notre Dame is arresting the police. We don’t need the people out there to correct us.

Policeman A grips down on Father’s shoulders,  pinning him in place on the hard cement pavement.

Imagine for a minute if this was a 80 y/o black priest and four white policemen were videotaped doing the same. Would there be outrage?

What if it were an Imam outside a mosque?

Father looks into one of the cameras, incredulous:

We-we-we’re Catholic priests. Why are you arresting a Catholic priest for trying to stop the killing of a baby? Use your mind. What are you doing that for? Why are you  arresting a priest for trying to stop the killing of a baby? You’ve got it all backwards. They’re trying to hurt the policemen so they shut up. That’s what you do. That’s why you’ve got this whole problem.

He seems confused. I don’t quite get what he means about the police. Policeman A puts a tag on a piece of rope around Father’s neck – like he’s a prize head of beef that needs identifying. Like his collar no longer identifies him.

And now you’re putting one around my neck!

Male bystander: His arms are already hurt.

Policeman A: I understand that.

Policeman off camera: Just drag him.

Policeman A, who understands that Father’s arms are already hurt, continues to yank Father by his arm to lay him down so they can haul him away. He knows and doesn’t have the humanity to untie them.

Ask yourself if the level of violence by the police matched the benign, justifiable nature of the protest and the protester’s non-resistance.

What is your threshold for police brutality?

Policeman A and Female Officer roughly drag Father back and roll him over on his left side on a thin blue stretcher with his hands still bound tightly behind his back. After he is given a final shove and knee by Policeman A, (3:20) Father says :

Land of Freedom!

Poignant words coming from an ex-Army man who defended this Land of Freedom with his own life for 2o years.

Bystander or cameraman: Wow. I can’t believe I am seeing this.

What do you hear in his voice?

I choose to believe he is uttering it in disbelief and disgust, rather than vicarious entertainment. And I, too, cannot believe what I am seeing: people standing by and doing nothing to help a 78 y/o non-violent Man of God.

What was going on inside the bystanders’ and officers’ heads? Inside their consciences?

Bystander 1 can no longer be heard.

Male bystander: His arms were broken by the last police officer.

Said loud enough for all to hear, and yet Father is left on his side having to hold up his head with his hands bound behind him. He is not resisting. And as the bystanders start to sing, Policeman B holds the blue stretcher material right up to Father’s face, who clearly cannot move it away himself. He can’t move because Policeman A has his boot on the blue material and his leg and knee tight against Father’s lower back, like he’s propping open a door.

Look around. Look at all the cameramen and regular folks talking pictures as a 78 y/o Catholic priest lays in full habit on the ground with his hands bound behind him, the blue edge of the stretcher material in his face and a leg pinning his back.

What are you feeling as you watch this?

Imagine if that were your father or grandfather.

What would be your feelings if Father was instead wearing his Army uniform?

Father begins to sing – never once complaining about his position or his humiliation or the fact that no one has come to his aid. Not even another Man of God, Pastor Rick Scarborough (who Father knows is right there), who chose to speak only when they were about to haul Father away.

Immaculate Mary, Your praise we sing,

You reign now in Splendor–

And then there’s quiet (4:06) except for the click of the camera – which even stops – as Father lays with not a single person offering to support his head. Not a single person asks him if he’s in pain. Not a single word from the four policemen who surround him. No apologies to a man who is twice their age, who served his country before they were born. No embarrassment with what they are doing to a harmless Man of God. No: I’m sorry, Father, it’s my job.

This is really hard to watch. Especially over and over to transcribe it. Each time overcome with a profound bewilderment mixed with something unnameable that my fellow Americans can do this to a Catholic priest who is doing exactly what he is supposed to.

The words I feel about the man who brought this about are untranslatable.

A full minute Father lays on the ground on his side with his hands bound behind him and Policeman A’s leg propping him up from the back and Policeman B & C holding up the blue material in front of him. He is being restrained like a common drunk – like he is about to get up and flee or become combative.

Finally, they lift him up and struggle as they haul him away. Father, still not uttering a word of protest or complaint.

This was not a big group. There were no agitators. Bystander 1, the vocal protester with a conscience, was somehow silenced. Police and security were there waiting and yet it took four full minutes to arrest 78 y/o man who was not fighting them.

Now recall how Policeman A said he knew about Father’s injuries. That means he knew who he was and was expecting him. So why not a simple wheelchair?

If nothing else, why not hoist Father Indian style between two policemen with another in front and back?

They could have removed him from the scene in a minute – the time he laid on the ground helpless and defenseless while bystanders and professionals took pictures and videos like he was an exhibit at the zoo.

Would you want to be laid out like that?

Would you like to witness your parent or spouse laid out like that, helpless with a pack of silent humans surrounding them?

Why the need for the complete humiliation of a peaceful Man of God, who was not in any way resisting?

And why is it a Catholic priest can’t walk freely onto the campus of a Catholic school to peacefully proclaim his faith and stand up for what he believes?

The absolute sanctity of life is what all Catholics should believe in, including the President of Notre Dame, Father Jenkins, who knew Father Weslin was going to be arrested, and yet, as evidenced, made no special provision that Father Weslin be treated with dignity.

Why were there no Notre Dame priests or nuns protesting Father Weslin’s manhandling?

Why were there no Catholic students sympathetic to the cause protesting on campus legally?

And the biggest mystery of all?

Why was a Catholic priest arrested for protesting abortion on the campus of a Catholic University, which has a Catholic priest as president?

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