- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 22, 2019

The day after a Lincoln Memorial confrontation with some Catholic schoolboys that went viral, American Indian activist Nathan Phillips and his drum-and-chant group reportedly tried to disrupt a Catholic Mass in Northeast Washington.

The Catholic News Agency reported Tuesday, citing unnamed sources, that the group of about 20 activists sought to enter the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception on Saturday during its 5:15 p.m. Vigil Mass.

“It was really upsetting,” a shrine security guard on duty during the Mass told CNA. “There were about twenty people trying to get in, we had to lock the doors and everything.”

“A source close to the shrine’s leadership corroborated the security guard’s account,” CNA wrote.

The Shrine’s official spokeswoman acknowledged to CNA only that a group “did assemble on Saturday evening outside the shrine” but neither confirmed nor denied that they tried to enter the Mass.

The Mass came the day after the annual March for Life and within hours of the now-famous boys’-school marchers from Covington Catholic High School becoming the nation’s biggest news as racist smirkers, with the help of misleadingly edited clips.

Mr. Phillips said he was trying to play peacemaker Friday by getting between the schoolboys and a racist black sect that was jeering them as they waited for their bus. Nick Sandmann, whose image became the face of the furor, said he was confused by Mr. Phillips getting inches from his face, yelling and banging on a drum, and was just smiling and not reacting to defuse the situation. But on Saturday, Mr. Phillips was at the Basilica to protest the church and blame it for the boys’ behavior.

According to a Canadian Broadcasting Corporation report Saturday evening, about 60 people gathered in support of Mr. Phillips outside the Basilica, but the report did not mention any attempt to enter the building and disrupt services. Mr. Phillips was present, photos show.

CBC’s video footage has one person saying the rally holds the Catholic Church “accountable” for the Covington boys and the “colonial violence that the Catholic Church reproduces every day.”

• Victor Morton can be reached at vmorton@washingtontimes.com.

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