After an 84-year-old Catholic priest was beheaded on the altar as he said Mass last month by two Islamic men who pledged allegiance to ISIS, Anglican vicars in England are being told the symbols of their calling in public.

National Churchwatch warns that the so-called “dog collars” could provoke a similar attack by Muslim terrorists, and has offered a list of recommendations for churches in Britain aimed at protecting both the clergy and their congregations.

Many people may remember that doors were not only unlocked during the daytime, but also at night, in Catholic and Anglican churches. Now churches are told to be sure doors are bolted at all times unless a service is in progress.

Not only are those days long passed, but British churches, even small ones, are now encouraged to have protections in place that would seem more in place at a club than a place of worship.

National Churchwatch suggests parishes install closed circuit television systems and have a “bouncer” to guard the door during services to “delay any offenders (including those who are not terrorists) so that the police can arrive and deal with them.”

Clergy are advised to carry personal attack alarms and take care never to be alone in the church, while parishioners are advised to attempt to escape in the event of violence, as did a nun during the terror attack in France.

The 12-page document by National Churchwatch will be sent to the British government’s Home Office, which has promised to allocate £2.4 million (nearly $2 million) for safety measures in churches.

The director of National Churchwatch, Nick Tolson said while the risk of a terror attack in a British church is low, he predicted, “It won’t be Westminster Abbey or St Paul’s, it will be a little church in Bolton or Birmingham.”

It may not be long before similar advice is given to American priests and ministers, and worshippers are greeted by a bouncer at the church door on Sunday mornings.

 

 

 

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