Churchgoers were left “stunned” after a West Australian police officer patrolled the pews of Catholic church halfway through a mass to check masks.
The evening mass at St Bernadette’s Catholic Church in Perth was abruptly halted as a police officer ensured that parishioners were abiding by the mask rules.
Masks were made mandatory for all indoor settings in Perth on January 16 to combat rising COVID-19 cases under the direction of WA Premier Mark McGowan.
Parishioners were quoted in the media, describing the confronting scene of law enforcement in full uniform checking that those praying were fully masked.
“I mean I’ve never seen anything like this and I don’t think many people have, certainly not in this country,” one parishioner told 6PR radio.
“It’s pretty troubling really to see the liturgy that you love being stopped by police."
According to witnesses, police entered the church and halted the mass before telling the clergy they had received reports of people not wearing masks.
it's not the first time police have put pressure on attendees religious services.
In September last year, Covid-19 restrictions in Melbourne have prevented Jews from gathering for the High Holidays for another year with community members taking the matter to court.
Throughout 2021 we brought you stories of police pressure on churchgoers in Australia, including the jailing of a pastor in Narre Warren.