Police officers have said they “deeply regret” any upset caused by shutting down a Good Friday service at a Catholic church in London.
Two Metropolitan Police officers attended a service at Christ the King Polish Catholic Church in Balham, south London, on Divine Mercy Sunday 11th April to address the congregation about the incident.
Officers had halted the Good Friday service instructing the faithful to go home, with those failing to comply facing a £200 fine or arrest, The Catholic Universe reported last week.
Addressing the congregation at last Sunday’s Mass, Detective Superintendent Andy Wadey said there had been “significant reflection and learning” since that day by himself and Superintendent Roger Arditti, who joined him at Sunday’s service, as well as their colleagues and senior leaders at New Scotland Yard.
Thanking the parish for inviting him and Supt. Arditti to Divine Mercy Sunday Mass, Det. Supt. Wadey added: “The Metropolitan Police truly wishes to serve and protect you in the best possible way.
“I truly hope that today marks the start of a renewed deep and lasting relationship, with the parish of Christ the King, Balham and also the wider Polish communities.”
The Archbishop of Southwark, John Wilson, also visited the parish and addressed the congregation, welcoming the officers and thanking them for their “kindness and the very fruitful conversations” they had in moving on from the incident as part of a new commitment to healing and collaboration.
Expressing deep sadness at the events, the archbishop said the officers have since listened to the “genuine concerns” of the community.
“We all share the same desire to move forward in friendship, working together for the common good,” he said. “We are committed to enabling freedom of worship for everyone, in safe and secure environments.”
Mgr Władysław Wyszowadzki, parish priest of Christ the King, added: “In the spirit of the Gospel, we willingly extend our hand to the representatives of the police authorities in order to further build a deep and lasting relationship between us, based on mutual respect and regard for the rights of worshippers to freely practice their faith.”
Picture: Commitment to Healing and Collaboration in Balham. (Mazur/cbcew.org.uk).