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June 15, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) — In this episode of The John-Henry Westen Show, I bring you a story from a church in Ottawa that’s dictating COVID policies, going so far as to not allow exemptions for people who have real medical conditions that require them to not wear a mask. Nick Lusito, a Catholic layman in the Diocese of Ottawa in Ontario, Canada, told me his story of encountering these dictates at St. Patrick’s Basilica.

One Sunday, Lusito and his wife were visiting the church, which is not their parish. He did not put on a mask, since he is legally exempted because of health conditions. After being confronted by one of the employees of the basilica and being asked to leave, Lusito decided to continue to pray as the church worker called for a priest.

He describes how “one of the priests at the parish came up … and … very rudely asked me to leave as well.” Fr. Stephen Amesse, associate rector of the church, then called the police. Lusito tried to tell both the employee, the priest, and the first police officer that came that he wanted to complete his prayers without interruption, but to no avail.

After a while, more officers arrived at the church, and out of respect for the parishioners who were there for Mass, which was beginning soon, Lusito went outside with the police. His wife filmed everything on her phone. At the end of the discussion, a policeman told him, “we don’t really have anything to charge you with,” and they went home.

Lusito eventually sent an email to the bishop complaining about this terrible experience, for which he received a polite apology. However, Lusito says that the priest “superseded the bylaw” allowing for medical exemptions for mask usage. Lusito is now considering legal action so it will not happen again.

I would like to encourage you to make known your views about this to the rector of St. Peter’s Basilica, Msgr. Kevin Beach. You can direct your polite comments to the phone number of the church here: 613-233-1125.

When priests and shepherds are discriminating against their own faithful just because they won’t abide by authoritarian mandates, it is very important that we stand and support faithful Catholics.

The John-Henry Westen Show is available by video on the show’s YouTube channel and right here on my LifeSite blog.

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John-Henry is the co-founder and editor-in-chief of LifeSiteNews.com. He and his wife Dianne and their eight children live in the Ottawa Valley in Ontario, Canada.

He has spoken at conferences and retreats, and appeared on radio and television throughout North America, Europe and Asia. John-Henry founded the Rome Life Forum an annual strategy meeting for pro-life leaders worldwide. He co-founded Voice of the Family and serves on the executive of the Canadian National March for Life Committee, and the annual National Pro-Life Youth Conference.

He is a consultant to Canada’s largest pro-life organization Campaign Life Coalition, and serves on the executive of the Ontario branch of the organization.  He has run three times for political office in the province of Ontario representing the Family Coalition Party.

John-Henry earned an MA from the University of Toronto in School and Child Clinical Psychology and an Honours BA from York University in Psychology.

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