News
Featured Image
 Shutterstock.com

NORTHBROOK, Illinois, October 27, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – A Catholic parish priest has threatened to call the police on a parishioner if she shows up to church service not wearing a mask.

Fr. Christopher Gustafson of St. Norbert Parish in Northbrook, Illinois, told Colette O’Regan in an Oct. 15 letter that her stubborn refusal to wear a mask during Mass was “disruptive” and “intransigent.”

“I find it necessary to enforce prevention of your entering and remaining in the church until you comply with the protocols asked of all, including the simple request of wearing a mask,” he told the 48-year-old mother of seven in the letter obtained by LifeSiteNews.

Image

The priest went on to tell O’Regan that he would use legal force to keep her out of the church if she refused to wear a mask.

“As we spoke of recently, your failure to comply has consequences – spiritual, but also sadly, legal. The church is private property, and unless you comply, your continued disruptive and intransigent behavior will prohibit your entry to and remaining on the premises.”

“Civil authorities have assured me of their readiness to enforce the law in this regard,” the priest warned the woman.

Cook County, where the parish is located, has no mandatory masking policy. The county’s public health guidelines issued in July urge, but do not demand, that “everyone should wear a cloth face cover in public settings and when around people who don’t live in your household, especially when other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.” The county allows for exceptions to this policy for children under two and “anyone who has trouble breathing.” The Archdiocese of Chicago, where the parish is located, goes further than the county, telling the faithful in guidelines issued in May that they are “required to wear masks during any services/ceremonies.”

The Archdiocese makes it clear that it realizes that masks are often ineffective, telling parishioners that they “should understand that they assume the risk of contracting COVID-19 any time they enter a public space since such precautions do not eliminate the risk of infection.”

LifeSiteNews reached out to the Archdiocese of Chicago for comment on the priest’s action, but did not receive a response.

O’Regan, who had attended Mass daily at the parish for over 21 years, had been eager to get back after weeks of staying home and watching televised Mass during the lockdowns that forced the closure of churches.

“My heart and soul were yearning for the Eucharist,” she told LifeSiteNews in a telephone interview.

Image

She began attending daily Mass again after her church reopened, with new protocols in place in response to COVID-19. She wore a mask when she first returned, but had it pulled down below her nose so that she could breathe more easily. She was emboldened to wear it this way when she saw other older parishioners doing the same. It was at this time that Fr. Gustafson and parish staff began to repeatedly request that she wear her mask “properly” – that is, over her nose.

The priest’s insistence motivated O’Regan to investigate for herself the effectiveness of wearing a mask to fight the virus.

— Article continues below Petition —
URGENT PETITION: Tell the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade
  Show Petition Text
61057 have signed the petition.
Let's get to 70000!
Thank you for signing this petition!
Add your signature:
  Show Petition Text
Keep me updated via email on this petition and related issues.
Keep me updated via email on this petition and related issues.

PETITION UPDATE (9/26/2020):

With President Trump's nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court left by the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, we are closer than we have been in decades to seeing Roe vs. Wade overturned.

We now encourage the Senate to confirm Barrett as the next Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.

Judge Barrett has a fantastic track recond on sanctity of life issues, has seven children, and is a devout believer. She is the perfect remedy for Ruth Bader Ginsburg's radical pro-abortionism.

Please READ the full story here: 'BREAKING: Trump nominates Catholic mom of 7 Judge Amy Coney Barrett to Supreme Court'

And then, please SIGN this petition telling the High Court that it's now time to end the activist Roe vs. Wade judgment. Thank you!

__________________________________________________________________

PETITION UPDATE (6/29/2020):

In a decision which has imperiled more abortion-minded women, sentenced more preborn to death, and upset pro-lifers across the nation,the United States Supreme Court decided 5-4 to strike down a Louisiana law requiring basic medical precautions in the event of abortion complications, with Chief Justice John Roberts reversing his own past decision to uphold a similar Texas law.

Liberal Justice Stephen Breyer wrote the majority opinion, which held that the Louisiana law was unconstitutional for the simple fact that it was “almost word-for-word identical” to the Texas one the court already struck down in 2016.

In his concurring opinion, Chief Justice Roberts acknowledged that he had “joined the dissent in Whole Woman’s Health and continue to believe that the case was wrongly decided. The question today however is not whether Whole Woman’s Health was right or wrong, but whether to adhere to it in deciding the present case.”

We call on the Supreme Court to stop supporting the culture of death and overturn Roe vs Wade, now.

PETITION UPDATE (1/20/2020):

Hundreds of thousands of people will gather in Washington, D.C., this coming Friday, January 24th, for the March for Life. They will be praying for an end to Roe vs Wade, as the Supreme Court will hear a crucial, abortion-related case later this year in March. United our voices can change the course of history. Sign this petition TODAY! (LEARN MORE BELOW)

PETITION UPDATE (1/3/2020):

In advance of the Supreme Court's hearing arguments in an important abortion case later this year in March, 207 U.S. Senators and Representatives have signed amicus briefs supporting a Louisiana law requiring abortionists to have admitting privileges at a hospital nearby an abortion center.

Some of these supporting briefs also suggest that now is the time to reconsider Roe vs Wade as sound law.

Please SIGN this petition, calling on the U.S. Supreme Court to strike down Roe vs Wade.

_____________________________________________________________________________

More than 60 million Americans have been slaughtered in their mother's wombs as a result of Roe v. Wade. This activist, unconstitutional ruling in 1973 has left countless women emotionally and psychologically scarred. 

It was believed by many that Roe would be overturned in 1992 with Planned Parenthood v. Casey. Despite having eight Republican-appointed judges at the time, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 to uphold it. 

Since then, major gains have been made in the fight for life, and many lives have been saved. 

However, Roe v. Wade remains the law of the land, leaving millions of defenseless pre-born children vulnerable to murder.

According to a 2016 study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 35% of aborted babies are African American, despite black women only making up six percent of the U.S. population. 19% of aborted babies are Hispanic.

We thus again call on the court to do everything they can to end Roe vs Wade.

Now is the time for pro-lifers to join together and ensure that all of God's children have a right to life.

Roe v. Wade must come to an end!

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/supreme-court-strikes-down-louisiana-abortion-regulations

https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/over-200-congressmen-as-us-supreme-court-to-reconsider-roe-v-wade

https://www.foxnews.com/politics/congress-members-file-competing-legal-briefs-in-key-scotus-abortion-case

  Hide Petition Text

“So I went home and started googling about these masks,” O’Regan said.

Online searches about masking to fight COVID reveal that many masks worn by the public are largely ineffective at stopping the transmission of viruses. There are also clearly documented hazards of wearing masks for long periods of time. LifeSiteNews co-founder Steve Jalsevac wrote a two-part series on masks in July where he made the case that the explosion in mandatory masking was not driven by science, but by fear (read Part I here and Part II here). John Paul Meenan wrote a piece in July where he makes the case that mandatory masking has a moral side because it hides “our identity as persons made in God’s image.”

O’Regan said that her investigation led her to conclude that mask mandates were “control tools” and “Marxist.”

“I said, ‘I’m not playing this game anymore. God made us unique and unrepeatable. Our faces are masterpieces made by God,” said O’Regan.

She then referred to the words of Catholic author and evangelist Mark Mallett, who has described the reaction to the COVID-19 outbreak as a “spiritual coup.”

Mallett wrote, “For the face is the icon of the image of God in whom we are created. In fact, the Hebrew word for face is often rendered as ‘presence’: our face is essentially the physical representation of our presence. As such, when Adam and Eve sinned, they ‘hid themselves from the face (presence) of the Lord God.’”

O’Regan also described the panic over mask-wearing as an expression of a lack of trust in God. “My trust, then, doesn’t rely on Him, it relies on me and everyone else around me. We are not in control. We can do the best we can, but you got in a car today and drove and we all know there are terrible drivers.”

O’Regan decided at this point to entirely forgo wearing a mask while attending daily Mass.

Fr. Gustafson wrote his first letter to O’Regan on Oct. 3, castigating her for not wearing a mask.

“For whatever reason you have chosen to not wear a mask while coming into church, despite our asking everyone to do so. I cannot imagine that you would politicize the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and use it as a forum for protest. I am assuming, therefore, that wearing a mask in some way offends your sense of proper religious practice,” he wrote in the letter obtained by LifeSiteNews.

“All of us can agree,” the priest continued, “that it is the smallest of inconveniences, easily undertaken, to enable your neighbors, many of whom are vulnerable, to feel safe. Failing to wear a mask is disturbing to others, and truthfully, is a moral issue. I ask you to prayerfully consider your actions in light of the Gospel’s twofold call to love and for your own spiritual wellbeing.”

O’Regan continued to attend church service without a mask. Less than two weeks after receiving the first letter, the priest threatened her with calling the police if she dared show up in church one more time without wearing a mask.

Fr. Gustafson elaborated on the situation to LifeSiteNews. He pointed out that people at his parish have come to him with concerns that people who do not wear masks put everyone else at risk.

“I’ve had a [Mass-goer] who’s a doctor, who is herself immuno-suppressed and has a sick child at home and she said, ‘How can we do this, now I can’t come anymore,’” Fr. Gustafson related.

“As in many things, especially in the moral world, there’s a question of burden and benefit; and it seems very minimally burdensome for someone to wear a mask, and a tremendous benefit for others to continue to be able to come,” he said.

When asked by LifeSiteNews whether he thought refraining from wearing a mask posed an actual physical risk to others, he replied: “The risk is people being unable to receive the sacraments and avail themselves of the spiritual goods of the church. That’s what’s at risk here. The mask-wearing is a simple response to the situation of the pandemic. I’m not doing this on science, I’m basing it on people who are telling me that they cannot participate because of someone’s behavior.”

O’Regan, by contrast, commented to LifeSiteNews, “We cannot collectively force other people to do things because it makes us feel safe. That is Marxist.”

O’Regan said that police confirmed to her that while there was no local law mandating the wearing of masks, her pastor could have her arrested or cited for trespassing on private property if she showed up to a service.

O’Regan commented, “I thought you denied people the sacraments because they’re in mortal sin. They don’t deny anyone anymore for that reason. We’re so concentrated on our physical health at this church. We could be completely dead spiritually, but that doesn’t matter, as long as everyone feels like they’re physically safe.”

The Catholic mother lamented that the church, on account of the actions of the priest, was no longer “open to all.”

LifeSiteNews asked Fr. Gustafson if his actions contravene Canon law regarding the obligation to give sacraments to faithful Catholics who are “properly disposed and are not prohibited by law from receiving them.”

When asked whether or not he thought he could reconcile his actions with Canon 843, Fr. Gustafson said, “I read that canon to say that I’m doing exactly what I need to do because otherwise, by doing nothing and her continuing to come and disrupt the Mass by not wearing a mask – she’s never been denied the Eucharist, by the way – but by my failure to do something, I’m depriving others, precisely the rest of the flock, when all she needs to do is wear a mask while she’s in the church. So it’s her behavior that’s denying the Eucharist, not mine.”

As far as her next steps are concerned, O’Regan said, “I’m letting God lead this.”

Contact information for respectful communications: 

Fr. Christopher Gustafson
St. Norbert and Our Lady of the Brook Parish
1809 Walters Avenue
Northbrook, IL 60062
Ph: (847) 513-6710
Email: [email protected]

Archdiocese of Chicago
Cardinal Blase J. Cupich, Archbishop of Chicago
PO Box 1979
Chicago, IL 60690-1979
Tel: 312.534.8230
Email: Use online contact form here

Editor’s note: LifeSiteNews’ Pete Baklinski contributed to this report.

Comments

Commenting Guidelines

LifeSiteNews welcomes thoughtful, respectful comments that add useful information or insights. Demeaning, hostile or propagandistic comments, and streams not related to the storyline, will be removed.

LSN commenting is not for frequent personal blogging, on-going debates or theological or other disputes between commenters.

Multiple comments from one person under a story are discouraged (suggested maximum of three). Capitalized sentences or comments will be removed (Internet shouting).

LifeSiteNews gives priority to pro-life, pro-family commenters and reserves the right to edit or remove comments.

Comments under LifeSiteNews stories do not necessarily represent the views of LifeSiteNews.