(LifeSiteNews) — Imagine if there was a group of Slovak journalists who sought to go into St. Peter’s Square with a banner supporting Bishop Joseph Strickland following his removal by Pope Francis. Then imagine if the Italian police confiscated their banner and detained two of the journalists for hours after admitting that it was because of the banner.
Anna Kulanová, a Slovak journalist with Catholic news organizations Christianitas and Fatima TV, alleges that this very thing happened to her and her husband after attending the Rome Life Forum this year – and she says she has the evidence to back it up. She joins me on this important episode of The John-Henry Westen Show.
According to Kulanová, she, her husband, and a crew from Christianitas and Fatima TV attempted to enter St. Peter’s Square for a Sunday Angelus with a banner depicting an image of Bishop Strickland and the phrase “Slovakia stands with Bishop Strickland,” with Kulanová carrying it.
When the Italian police asked to see what was on the banner, not knowing who Strickland was, she told them it was a bishop and a holy man. When the police called “higher places” to see if Kulanová could enter the square, she asked if anything was the matter, to which they responded that they needed to find out who Strickland was and that she would have to wait for a moment. She showed the police her ID, they took pictures of it, and assured her she would not miss the Pope’s Angelus address.
The tenor of the meeting soon changed, however.
“As soon as they got the answer from the higher places, they panicked,” recalls Kulanová. “They threw my banner away in the corner. I tried to look for my friends for support now and call my husband who had all gone to St. Peter’s Square earlier, and with Slovak flags.”
When Kulanová’s husband arrived, he noticed the banner in the corner, began filming, put it in his bag, and started walking toward the square. When the police asked to see what was in his bag, they found the banner, and Kulanová walked over to him, also filming. Both asked questions of the police, including what the Vatican’s problem was with Strickland. The police then got a little nervous, denying Kulanová and her husband admittance to the square.
A police officer told them that Strickland was indeed a problem in the Vatican, and another said that the banner was also a problem in the Vatican. It was then that the police confiscated her camera. A police officer later told Kulanová that the “trouble” was indeed political. The police also confiscated the banner after Kulanová’s husband returned it to her. The police put the banner in their van and promised her that she would get it back at the police station, she maintains.
While she still had her camera, the police attempted to get her to enter a police car, Kulanová alleges. She refused, believing they would take her camera and delete anything on it. The police surrounded her and would not let her leave. She believes the police did not allow her to leave because she was filming the affair.
When she asked the police for an explanation, she received multiple answers, like that they needed to perform a background check on her. One officer said they wanted her to sign something and that they wanted to file a report. According to Kulanová, the police maintained she was not under arrest despite not being allowed to leave. She was also told the police could hold her for as long as they wished and that she would learn of the reason for the detainment at the police station.
While Kulanová and her husband were holding onto each other, the police eventually managed to separate them. “It looked like abduction by mafia in broad daylight,” she recalls. “[The police] forced us apart. Several of them lifted my body from the ground, I still have bruises … and forced me in the car. They took all my possessions away and locked the car. And when my husband saw what had happened, he followed into their other car.”
Kulanová and her husband were in police custody for upwards of three or four hours, she tells me. While the car she was in remained parked in front of a police station for a half-hour, she maintains she was not allowed out of the car, even when she requested to use the restroom, and that she was always told she would be able to “later.”
Eventually, Kulanová and her husband had their fingerprints and photos taken while the footage on their cameras was being deleted. Luckily, however, her husband switched the card in his camera so that he managed to save some of the photos of the encounter, which Kulanová managed to record with a microphone hidden under her blouse. Some pictures were also saved from the confiscated cameras.
While at a police station, Kulanová and her husband prayed the Rosary in a corridor amidst the slamming of doors and panicked police officers. They were eventually asked to sign police documents, but Kulanová’s husband asked them to correct the “appalling lies” in it, asked for the banner back, and asked to see their chief to file a report that police officers harassed foreign reporters.
“They got so angry, they threw us out that instant, I mean physically, without giving us any documents or our banner back, and even locked the door behind us,” says Kulanová. She and her husband rang the station’s door in an attempt to file a police report regarding the theft of the banner, but “they rushed out in a big hurry and told us to go bother someone else.”
“We experienced some persecution for one day; now imagine what pressure Bishop Strickland has to face,” Kulanová tells me.
“This is why he prays so much. He has been persecuted by Modernists and their attacks for forever, and his only crime is defending the faith and being faithful to Christ and Magisterium [sic]. I remember very well how he said at the Rome [Life] Forum [that] we were made for these times. And if we have to face persecution just because we do not accept attacks on our faith, we will pray for strength. It’s all worth it. It’s all about eternal life.”
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