Pro-Palestinian activists disrupt Easter services at NYC cathedral

Activists disrupted an Easter Vigil Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral on Saturday night to protest the war in Gaza and climate change, according to the New York Police Department and footage posted by the environmentalist group Extinction Rebellion NYC on Sunday.

The protesters donned Palestinian Keffiyehs, sang a liturgical round about peace, and brought a banner to the front of the altar that read: “Silence equals death.”

They said that they were demanding that faith leaders take “immediate and vocal action to end the genocide and ecocide.”

As cathedral officials dragged the protesters away, they shouted “Free Palestine.”

The NYPD said that they arrested three men at the scene without incident. The three, John Rozendaal, 63, Gregory Schwedock, 35, and Matthew Menzies, 31, were charged with disrupting a religious service.

“Activists were slammed to the ground despite being nonviolent,” Extinction Rebellion claimed. “The cathedral refused to pause the service, continuing to stay silent on the humanitarian issue.”

Protesters said silence is complicity in Gaza war

On social media, the group said that silence means complicity with Israeli military operations in Gaza and the climate crisis.

“Everything is connected,” said the group. “War, occupation, and industrial pollution are poisoning the soil, air, and water in Gaza and all over the planet, destroying the earth’s capacity to sustain life.”

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops issued a statement calling for an end to the Israel-Hamas war on March 23.

“Catholics here in the United States and all those of goodwill [are] to renew their prayers for an end to the raging Israel-Hamas war, “ said the USCCB. “To move forward, a ceasefire and a permanent cessation of war and violence [are] absolutely necessary. To move forward, those held hostage must be released and civilians must be protected. To move forward, humanitarian aid must reach those who are in such dire need.”

Pope Francis offered his support to Catholics living in the Levant during the war last Wednesday.

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