Six young people invaded the noon Mass on Easter Sunday. With a bullhorn in hand, a 23-year-old North Carolina teacher screamed, “Only the devil” could create “animals capable of love and joy just so humans can make them suffer and die.” Many in the congregation thought that the camera that was strapped to his chest was a bomb.

Others held signs and pictures of animals, shouting, “Easter is a time for love! No more shedding animal blood!” The police and security moved quickly to restore order.

The protesters were not a random group. They belong to Collectively Free, an animal rights organization. It is confused at best and dishonest at worst. On the one hand, it emphasizes “Integrity and Empathy,” urging its members to “Show respect for and value individuals.”

On the other hand, it encourages members to be “provocative & experimental” in their tactics, making sure they push “the boundaries.” Regarding the latter, the organization says it believes in “direct action,” including “actions [that] involve entering an establishment that normalizes the exploitation of non-human animals, holding space, and speaking out on behalf of the victims.”

That the two goals are contradictory escapes them. In practice, “direct action” is what defines Collectively Free.

Ham. That is why the activists invaded St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Raffaella Ciavatta, co-founder of the group, told a reporter, “Ham is a big thing on Easter, so that is why we decided to bring those voices to the public.” Not that it gets Bill Donohue off the hook with her, but he had a steak on Easter Sunday.

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