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St. Louis church not forming a militia

A Catholic church in the St. Louis suburb of Chesterfield has apologized after its bulletin advertised for men aged 18 to 29 to join a militia. The group’s aim was to protect the eucharist, congregation, clergy and church grounds from potential threats.

Ascension Catholic Church quickly retracted the advertisement through a post on its website, clarifying that no militia was being formed and expressing regret over the ad’s inclusion in the bulletin. The statement emphasized that the notion of needing a militia for church protection was “inappropriate and unhelpful” and reassured the community that there had been no threats against the church.

The ad was from an individual who was recruiting members for a group he called the Legion of Sancta Lana” according to the statement. However, the church did not disclose the name of that individual.

“The advertisement, which included a QR code with an application for membership, suggested that a militia would be formed and that this group would be affiliated with Ascension parish,” the church said. “This is, of course, untrue. To be perfectly clear, there is no militia being formed, and we regret that this item was included in the bulletin. Furthermore, the suggestion that our community might require a militia in order for us to celebrate the eucharist is both inappropriate and unhelpful. Please be assured that there have been zero threats made against our community.”

At the time of the Revolutionary War, militias were organizations of men who protected their towns, colonies, and eventually states, according to Jack Rackove, a Pulitzer Prize-winning author and political science professor.

According to the Family Research Council’s February 2024 edition of its Hostility Against Churches report, “the rise in hostility against U.S. churches that were identified in FRC’s inaugural December 2022 report has neither slowed nor plateaued; rather, it has accelerated rapidly.” More than 400 church attacks occurred in the United States in 2023.

Fox 2 Now in St. Louis, which said the ad featured a call to “join now” in large bold font, reported that multiple parishioners, who chose to remain anonymous, viewed the incident as an unfortunate oversight. One parishioner was quoted as saying, “It sort of was a mistake. It was an advertisement that was printed without any review by the parish, and I think it slipped through the review-process cracks, if you will.”

The church’s bulletin publication process is managed by an external agency. “It was just kind of a surprise, because it’s contradictory to everything that the school and the church preaches in the parish,” another parishioner said.

Churches across the nation have been under heightened security since the overturning of Roe v Wade. Hundreds of churches, primarily Catholic, have been the target of arson and vandalism.

–Alan Goforth | Metro Voice

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