RCMP were called to the Sacred Heart Cathedral in the B.C. Interior city on Friday night, and found Bishop David Monroe bleeding on the floor of the church rectory. Police believe he had been beaten with a blunt object.Read more: http://www.cbc.ca/canada/british-columbia/story/2010/10/23/bc-kamloops-bishop-beaten.html#ixzz13EtS4lo3
Monroe, 69, was rushed to hospital, along with another priest who dislocated a shoulder trying to fend off the attacker.
"We pray for the bishop and for the conversion of the guy who hurt the bishop," said Rev. Derrick Cameron. "Certainly, he [Monroe] could have died if we weren't there. Timing-wise, he would have bled to death."
The police stated that a mentally ill man suffering from religious delusions is in custody. A member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police also stated the majority of the bishop's injuries were to the face and head. He also said that the crime scene was so horrific that "We are fortunate, quite frankly, that it was not a double murder"
Further reports state Bishop Monroe is drifting in and out of consciousness today and is having difficulty recognizing visitors.
Although we seldom hear about it, I suspect that assaults against priests are more common that we realize.
About 8 years ago a man knocked on the rectory door of the parish where I was employed. It was nearly 10 pm. The knocking was quite frantic and the priest assumed that someone was in serious trouble so he went to open the door. As soon as he opened the the door just a crack, the man who was knocking tried to push the door in. He was yelling for the priest who had been pastor there some 40 years previous, saying "Father P, I know you are in there. You kicked me our of school and that ruined my life." He then proceeded to make threats against the priest's life.
The priest forced the door closed by throwing all his body weight against it and after a struggle was able to close and lock the door. He tried to reason with the man explaining that the priest in question had been dead for over 20 years. He apologized for any harm that may have been done, but the man was adamant.
"You are lying, I know exactly who you are!" he yelled.
Father called the police and the man fled, but he returned several hours later. This time with a baseball bat and a very large knife. He yelled that he was going to break into the rectory and kill the priest.
Because of that event, the priest no longer feels safe opening his door to strangers when he is alone or after dark. It's a sad situation.
Mental illness often takes a religious focus. I could write chapters here on the how and why, but I will leave you with just this. Pray for Bishop Monroe's recovery. Pray for all those priests who have been attacked and those who live in fear of an attack. Pray also for those who have perpetrated attacks, their families, and all those who are mentally ill.