Saturday, October 23, 2010

Bishop Nearly Beaten to Death

A bishop was nearly beaten to death last night.
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.

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."
Read more:

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.

Monday, October 04, 2010

St. Francis of Assisi on the Eucharist

Let us all consider, O clerics, the great sin and ignorance of which some are guilty regarding the most holy Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ and His most holy Name and the written words of consecration. For we know that the Body cannot exist until after these words of consecration. For we have nothing and we see nothing of the Most High Himself in this world except His Body and Blood, names and words by which we have been created and redeemed from death to life.

But let all those who administer such most holy mysteries, especially those who do so indifferently, consider among themselves how poor the chalices, corporals, and linens may be where the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ is sacrificed. And by many It is left in wretched places and carried by the way disrespectfully, received unworthily and administered to others indiscriminately. Again His Names and written words are sometimes trampled under foot, for the sensual man perceiveth not these things that are of God. 1 Shall we not by all these things be moved with a sense of duty when the good Lord Himself places Himself in our hands and we handle Him and receive Him daily?

Are we unmindful that we must needs fall into His hands?
Let us then at once and resolutely correct these faults and others; and wheresoever the most holy Body of our Lord Jesus Christ may be improperly reserved and abandoned, let It be removed thence and let It be put and enclosed in a precious place. In like manner wheresoever the Names and written words of the Lord may be found in unclean places they ought to be collected and put away in a decent place. And we know that we are bound above all to observe all these things by the commandments of the Lord and the constitutions of holy Mother Church. And let him who does not act thus know that he shall have to render an account therefor before our Lord Jesus Christ on the day of judgment. And let him who may cause copies of this writing to be made, to the end that it may be the better observed, know that he is blessed by the Lord.

From: The Writings of St. Francis of Assisi, tr. by Paschal Robinson, [1905],

Friday, October 01, 2010

Family or Business

Guys! You know who you are in the black shirts with the little squares on the collars. Yeah, you. Listen up!

It's time to start acting like priests not like employees of the diocese. You have a vocation that is far greater than any other. We need you! Not just on Sunday and not during the week between 9 am and 5 pm. We need you all the time.

We call you "Father" because that is what you are. You are celibate so that you can care for us, your family, without depriving a family borne of your flesh. You have adopted us through ordination, but so often we feel abandoned. Care for us!
We call for a priest when a loved one with dying with the hope of having a priest come with the grace of the Sacraments to comfort, heal, and lead that person into eternal life.
We call for a priest when we are struggling with our faith, our lives, our bodies with the hope of experiencing the everpresent love of God.

What parent would tell a child "Sorry, I can't see you now. Office hours are from 9-5. Come back later." Businesses have office hours, families do not.

Life is messy! It's not 9-5.

I'm not bedrudging you of a day off or time to yourself. You need that and have a right to it. You have to care of yourself or you will never be able to care for us, but remember that we call you "Father" for a reason.

Care for each other as well. There are priests among you who need your support and help. It shouldn't matter what you think of them personally. You don't have to like their personality or style, but try to see beyond that to the brother that lies within.

When your brother priest is ill, visit him. When he needs support, listen to him. When he needs some time off, help him out. Businesses are cut-throat, families assist.

We need to all start thinking more like a family than like a business.