PHILADELPHIA, PA—On Sunday, August 23, a church lector was punched by a woman during mass at Cathedral Basilica of SS. Peter and Paul, on Race Street, in Philadelphia. On Monday, August 24, the Philadelphia Police Department indicated that they already identified the woman and deferred charges against her. Officials did not disclose the woman’s name or other information.
The entire incident was captured on a Facebook Livestream by Nelson Perez who is the 10th Archbishop (14th Bishop), Archdiocese of Philadelphia. According to the Livestream, the incident followed a reading by a female congregant. The victim was punched when she was walking back to the seating area from the stage.
Later in the day, Archbishop Perez posted a statement via Facebook regarding the action.
“Such behavior is unacceptable at all times, especially within the confines of a church building and during the celebration of the Holy Mass. I was saddened to learn of this incident and regret that it took place. The lector who was assaulted received immediate attention and assistance from Cathedral staff members off camera. She did not require medical attention and is doing well based on the reports I have received,” reads the statement via Perez’s Facebook.
An article by The Philadelphia Inquirer wrote that two sources told them on Tuesday, August 24, that the woman who punched the lector was dealing with mental health issues. It was the reason authorities decided to postpone or find an alternative to prosecution.