The Catholic News Agency is reporting that Nathan Phillips, the man who confronted a group of Catholic high school students at the Lincoln Memorial last Friday, attempted to disrupt Mass at the nation’s largest Catholic Church on Saturday.
While chanting and playing ceremonial drums, a group of Native American rights activists reportedly led by Nathan Phillips attempted Jan. 19 to enter Washington, D.C.’s Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception during a Saturday evening Mass.
The group of 20 demonstrators was stopped by shrine security as it tried to enter the church during its 5:15 pm Vigil Mass, according to a shrine security guard on duty during the Mass…
The guard told CNA the situation was “tense.”
“I’m just really grateful that nothing too bad happened, they were really angry.”
The guard said the doors to the church had to be locked to keep the drummers outside. A second source confirmed the guard’s account but the National Shrine’s spokesperson refused to confirm whether the group had attempted to come inside.
All of this happened Saturday evening when people on social media, having heard only one side of the story, were lashing out at the Covington High students and praising Phillips. There’s video from outside the church that night which shows a group of people drumming and singing. After the song ends a student with the Indigenous Youth Council says, “On our lands is where this Basilica sits.” He then termed what had happened to Nathan Phillips a manifestation of “historic, colonial violence.” Does historic, colonial violence mostly consist of smirking?
As I said on Twitter, this story is more evidence that Nathan Phillips is someone who looks to create confrontations, not someone who is the victim of one. His initial story about being surrounded by Catholic High students wasn’t true. His story about being blocked from proceeding wasn’t true. What is true is that he walked into the crowd followed by a cameraman and a guy telling the kids to go back to Europe. And it appears his stunt the next night at the Basilica was more of the same.
In a related story, Covington Catholic High School met with law enforcement Monday because of threats the school was receiving.
On Monday, Sanders said officials at Covington Catholic High School in Park Hills met with local law enforcement to come up with a plan to ensure student safety. Sanders told CNN the move came after threats against the school and some students in the wake of an incident captured in a viral video over the weekend at the March for Life in Washington.
“After meeting with local authorities, we have made the decision to cancel school and be closed on Tuesday, January 22, in order to ensure the safety of our students, faculty and staff,” says a letter from school principal Robert Rowe that was posted on CNN affiliate WKRC‘s website.
“All activities on campus will be canceled for the entire day and evening. Students, parents, faculty and staff are not to be on campus for any reason. Please continue to keep the Covington Catholic Community in your prayers,” Rowe wrote.
Other schools in the area were closed because of the weather, so it’s possible Covington would have been closed today on that basis alone, but other high schools presumably aren’t receiving threats.