In a shocking move, Rhode Island Attorneys General and State Police officials took the unusual position yesterday in formal proceedings that law enforcement is free to raid normal Catholic Churches, even the Cathedral itself, should church sacraments be suspected of containing “contraband.”

The unusual claim by the State came in and around Superior Court proceedings in which a protective order was sought for the Diocese Cathedral’s upcoming “Chrism Mass,” at which “balsams” are added to olive oil to make Chrism oil, a Biblical theme.  Balsams (“BSM” in Biblical Hebrew) are aromatic plant resins, and the Chrism recipe at Exodus 30:23 specifies balsam of cinnamon (KNMN BSM), and of hemp/cannabis (KNH BSM).

A local Catholic mother, whose minor son has been invited by the Diocese to play the violin for the Ss. Peter and Paul Cathedral annual Chrism Mass (April 15 2019), recently filed in Court that the Cathedral’s Bible, canon law, artwork, and history from 1900-present show enough cannabis that, in other venues it would far exceed probable cause, and so sought a restraining order in court to bar interference with the Mass.

The mother, of course, is prominent Hebrew Catholic activist Rev. Anne Armstrong, better known for decades of pro-Life and Christian rights activism, for the past few years flavored with the aroma of Biblical cannabis, as well.

According to Armstrong’s filing, police have already been called to the Cathedral over its own incense, which a 2016 column by Senior Diocesan Bishop Thomas Tobin says (in conjunction with police reports and video of a 2016 police call to the Cathedral) appears to have been confused by both off duty and on-duty police with the smell of cannabis.

Armstrong’s filings also refer to multiple mainstream news accounts showing raw herbal cannabis being openly burned in the Vatican at the 1903 Coronation of Pope Pius X (see below), as well as several pictures of stained glass, fresco and sculpture at the Cathedral which show Biblical cannabis.  Bible verse, canon law and other sources appear to create images of cannabis, smells of cannabis, and names of cannabis in the rites, which are the same levels of “probable cause” used for surveillance and raids at churches like hers and the recently-raided Colorado cannabis church (despite the plant’s lawfulness for private use in CO).

According to Armstrong, State Police and even Attorney General Peter Neronha himself attempted to use trickery and deception to avoid accepting Service of the legal documents, so unsure of themselves are they in the matter.

“What would be the purpose of having religious freedom, if this sort of attitude is allowed?” asks Armstrong, who likens it to the wave of anti-Catholic mass murder sweeping England in the 12th century, culminating in the murder of archbishop Thomas Beckett.

“After Christians and Jews escaped England to found the USA, we expect our police to follow the law and Constitution, not place themselves above it,” says Armstrong, a potent Christian activist who as far back as the 1990s has been arrested for praying rosaries outside an abortion clinic, and summoned to Washington DC to testify before legislative committees about religious suppression by public schools.