I was strangely reluctant this morning to get out and do my regular protests at the parishes in St. John's area. Mostly I think this was a result of the troubling comments made recently by Pope Francis. Immediately that I read the transcript of his remarks I thought to myself that he has just made it doubly difficult now for anyone on the frontlines in the culture wars. Not only will we get the usual flack and venom from the secular side but we'll also have liberal Catholics and dissidents of all stripes reminding us that we "obsess" too much over abortion, contraception, etc....according to none other than the Pope.
Even before my day started, the psychological and spiritual damage from the Pope's words were, for me, quite significant. I predict there may well be a serious backlash to pro-life efforts on a widespread basis. I am not directly blaming the Pope for the attack which I endured today but I will simply say that considering I suffered a vicious attack from a fellow Catholic, I expect that future attacks from this quarter will be even more probable. In fact I was truly expecting some Catholics today to mock my protest using the Pope's words! It didn't happen today but I guarantee it will sometime soon.
By the way, the Catholic man who assaulted me today accused me of being "on our property" but in fact my sign, which is six feet wide, was about half way on the sidewalk and half way off the sidewalk. It was a crude and cheap way for him to try to justify his violent behaviour.
I filed a report today with the local police, providing them with my videotape as well as still shots of the perpetrator and at least 6-8 witnesses, all of whom, by the way, were content to watch the vicious assault without saying a word or offering help when I was lying on the road. One gentleman did approach me after the assault and indicated that he had witnessed the event and that he was prepared to corroborate what took place if I required a witness. I later learned that he attends St. Patrick’s Church and is actually a local police officer, although he did not know the thug who attacked me.
I explained to the officer at police headquarters today that I was prepared to press the matter to the limit of the law for two reasons. Firstly, it was a vicious crime which came not only suddenly but with violent force and entirely without provocation. Also the potential outcome of the assault was extremely serious. Fortunately I am a 63 year old man in very good physical shape without any disabilities which means that my body withstood the hard impact of the road without serious injury. All I have today is a bruise on my knee, a sore shoulder and some numbness and weakness in my right arm which took the major force of the fall. Had my physical health been poor, I suspect I would have sustained broken bones or back injury or even head impact. It is entirely possible that an ambulance would have been required. Furthermore, I was shoved into the actual path of traffic and landed where the wheels of traffic would have traveled. There was normal Sunday traffic that day and I could quite possibly have been struck or run over while on the road.
Secondly, I explained to the officer, I protest regularly throughout the St. John’s area, not only at churches but at other sites as well. I take a good degree of abuse every time I carry a sign, from cursing to spitting to throwing stones to the one finger salute and every possible and colourful epithet imaginable. But never before have I endured such a despicable, cowardly attack, one with potentially life threatening consequences. The person responsible must be prosecuted to the full extent of the law if for no other reason than as an example so that other similar minded thugs will not be encouraged to do the same to me or to some other peaceful, law abiding citizen. As far as animosity is concerned I can honestly say I have forgiven the man and I do indeed pity such a poor cowardly wretch. But forgiveness and justice are two different things.
On another note, I tweeted out my experience at St. Patrick’s Church to my Twitter followers as well as sending direct tweets to LifeSiteNews , LifeNews and ChurchMilitant.TV. (Check out my Twitterfeed in column to the right.) So far it appears that none of them are interested in following up on the story. I haven’t heard back from any of them and none of my tweets have been retweeted, favorited or otherwise passed along. I find that to be more than a little surprising. I thought a pro-lifer being assaulted and knocked to the ground for protesting abortion would be news worthy....more so being outside a Church and perpetrated by a fellow Catholic. But I must be mistaken I guess. Maybe this sort of thing happens all the time and nobody says anything. Could it be the graphic abortion sign that troubles them or could it be the message against contraception in the pews that scares off pro-life media? I'd really like to know. Come on now, I'm a big boy, I can take the truth.