I remember reporting on the original incident back in 2020. The Bernardel family includes 11 children, six adopted and one with serious disabilities. Mama Jane has home schooled her brood for more than 20 years. And they routinely attend daily Mass. On Halloween 2020, Jane took the kids to church to pray, as is the family’s custom. They sat in an empty pew, far from anyone else.
After they had prayed the rosary and Divine Mercy chaplet, an unmasked priest came out and ordered them all to mask. Jane said no. “None of us were ill, we were all well, we were all very far from anybody in the church, so it … didn’t make sense to me.” The priest called the cops and had Bernardel arrested for trespassing.
Since then, Jane says other people have told her how they were singled out for refusing to mask. One woman said she was ordered from the pulpit to leave. Another family was told their boys couldn’t serve and the family had to sit in a special, roped off pew.
Bishop James Johnston of the Diocese of Kansas City seems to have taken the whole thing very personally. At first, he offered to drop the charges if she pleaded guilty to trespassing, paid a $300 fine, and attend anger management classes. She said no and eventually the judge dismissed the case.
But Bernardel’s bishop seems to have a big old bug up his butt, cuz he hasn’t been able to let the thing drop. In February, he sent her a formal canonical rebuke and penal precept, in which he accused her of multiple “grave disturbances” and forbade her from setting foot on any diocesan property for at least one year, with the exception of cemeteries.
I’m inclined to believe that the real reason behind this persecution is that the prayers of this devout family threatens Satan’s territory. Jane has chosen to litigate against Bishop Johnston; the Life Funder link below is for donations to her legal costs.