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Courtney Covey, Published October 10 2010

Bishop Samuel Aquila owes pro-choicers apology

Last Sunday (Sept. 26), I caught a face full of holy water. Far from feeling blessed, I felt insulted and attacked. The water was thrown by Bishop Samuel Aquila of the Fargo Diocese at pro-choice demonstrators outside the Red River Women’s Clinic as part of “Walk with Christ for Life,” an anti-abortion march. The holy water was supposedly intended to hit the clinic building. It didn’t. Instead, the water hit the group peacefully praying for tolerance outside.

Were a group of pro-choicers to gather outside a Catholic church and throw water (sanctified or not) on parishioners, those pro-choicers would be carted away in handcuffs. Why is it different when a man in robes throws water on people outside a clinic? It is still an unwarranted act of violence.

As a leader in the faith community, Aquila had the opportunity to model Christian values of tolerance and kindness to the hundreds of people who marched with him. Instead, he displayed petty aggression.

I am deeply disturbed and believe that the bishop owes both the demonstrators and his congregation an apology for the assault and for being a poor representative of Christ.

I wish to repeat the prayer that we spoke in front of our clinic Sunday: “We pray for Christians everywhere to embrace the loving model of Jesus in the way he refused to shame women, and we pray for a contagious love to overflow from our spirits.” I hope Bishop Aquila will pray with me.