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No Mask, No Mass

Devout mother banned from church

March 29, 2021  0

Deirdre Hairston: "The state of the Church is a lot worse than I thought, and this really brought it to light."

Deirdre Hairston is happily married, nursing and newly pregnant with the couple's second child, but her pastor, ostensibly more concerned with mask-compliance, called the cops on her during Holy Mass.

A conscientious objector to masks, owing largely to nausea from pregnancy, Deirdre sat with her husband and baby in the back of the church, on the far right, at Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Dallas.

After the usher failed to force her to put a mask on, he alerted the pastor.

Deirdre Hairston:

The head pastor, Fr. Milton Ryan, approaches me in the middle of Mass. ... He says, "I am the boss here. I am the pastor. What I say goes. Now, if you want to be an obedient Catholic, you put that mask on or you'll have to leave." ... So I whisper back, "I am not leaving." He goes, "Fine, But I'm calling the police."

The pastor stormed off quickly as Deirdre continued to participate in Mass. Holding her baby, she returned from Communion to find three police officers hovering over her seat. One of them grabbed her arm.

Deirdre Hairston: 

She says, "I am going to put you in handcuffs if you don't stand up right now." And I asked her: "Am I getting arrested?" She responds, "Not right now, but if you don't listen to me, you will be." I said, "Did I commit a crime?" And she said, "Yes. You are criminally trespassing. The church does not want you here. This is a business and the business does not want you here."

She complied and went outside with her husband, child and the officers.

Deirdre Hairston:

They then take my license. They report me and write me up with a ticket for trespassing. The usher proceeds to come out, very aggressively yelling to the police officers to write me a ticket. He then takes the liberty to go to my car, take pictures of my license plate; yelling at them to ban me. 

Deirdre spotlighted that the governor lifted mask mandates before this incident at Mass.

Deirdre Hairston: "Even the government has made this a more lenient issue than our own Church. Our own Church decides to be more aggressive and militant on the matter."

In fact, despite the governor's lifting, Bp. Edward Burns called for protocols to remain in place, including face coverings: "Catholic faithful in the diocese of Dallas [are] to continue to wear masks out of charity and concern for all those around them."

Deirdre contacted St. Joseph Foundation in Ohio for clarity on her rights as a Catholic.

She learned no practicing Catholic in the state of grace can be denied the sacraments. But the clergy involved do not seem interested in canon law.

Deirdre Hairston:

It's almost like they become demonic or possessed with fury and angry. It's bizarre. It's honestly just bizarre behavior. It's extremely aggressive. I mean, you're going to arrest a 28-year-old nursing mom who's already socially distanced? I mean it proves that it's not really about the health. It's just about control.

One Catholic Texan, familiar with the story, told Church Militant he agrees with Deirdre's gut feeling.

To exclude a member of Christ's body from Holy Mass, which saves souls, over a mask, which may or may not aid the health of bodies, is demonic.

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