Bishop assaulted in Canada

I suspect this sort of thing is going to happen more and more frequently.

From CBC:

B.C. bishop severely beaten

One person is in custody after the Roman Catholic bishop of Kamloops, B.C., was severely beaten at the city’s cathedral.

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.”

The assailant fled the church, but police say they tracked down the suspect.

“We started backtracking to see what else had gone on in the evening, and one thing that did catch our eye was that a couple hours previous there was an adult male that was brought to the Kamloops hospital by some family members who were concerned for his mental health,” said RCMP Staff Sgt. Garry Kerr. “They said his mental state was quite deteriorated and he was apparently having some delusions of some sort involving religion.”

Kerr said police found the man in a shed at his father’s home on the north shore of Kamloops. It appears he swam across the Thompson River.

Monroe, who has been bishop since 2002 of the 155,000-square-kilometre central B.C. diocese, was taken to hospital with what Kerr described as serious injuries. He was expected to be released Saturday.

“I was at the hospital [Friday] night and was able to speak … very, very briefly with the bishop…. The most severe injuries the bishop had were all above the neck and face and [he was] severely, severely beaten,” Kerr said.

We are fortunate, quite frankly, that it was not a double murder … I mean, the scene was that horrific, and I am just glad to say that he [the suspect] is in custody.”

The suspect, whose name has not been released, was undergoing a psychological evaluation. He was scheduled to appear in a Kamloops court on Monday.

If I say that I feel nervous when I see deranged people coming at me in my house with blunt objects, will I be fired from my liberal blog?

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Roguejim says:

    Why do you feel this sort of thing is going to happen more and more frequently?

  2. medievalist says:

    And from the comments section on this story in the national paper, The Globe and Mail, comes this:

    “Editor’s Note: Comments have been closed on this story because an overwhelming number of readers were making offensive statements about other commenters and/or the individual or individuals mentioned in the story. That kind of behaviour is a breach of our commenting policy, and so the comment function has been turned off. We appreciate your understanding.”

    Sadly, I think I only need one guess to figure out what sort of comments were being made.

  3. Kaneohe says:

    Let us all keep Bishop Monroe and his assailant in our prayers.

  4. medievalist: Sadly, I think I only need one guess to figure out what sort of comments were being made.

    I don’t need to guess. I run this blog. And you should see my email!


  5. mdillon says:

    First, God Bless the poor Bishop Monroe. May he quickly recover.

    Second, we can expect more of this violence as the fruit of liberal tolerance.

  6. Esther says:

    Mdillon, this had nothing to do with “liberal” “tolerance”. This was a man who had a very severe mental illness and wasn’t being properly supervised at the hospital. He didn’t read the New York Times and suddenly decide to beat up a bishop. He was (and presumably still is, barring a very recent miracle) insane.

    I agree that there are persecutions in the name of “tolerance” and that (barring divine intervention or rapid and unexpected massive cultural changes) there will be more as the years go by. But this man wasn’t a Peter Tatchell type. This was a man whose brain wasn’t working properly.

    People have always gone mad and always will. Most mad people only harm themselves, but a small minority harm others. There will always be people like this. It has nothing to do with liberalism.

  7. ejcmartin says:

    I checked out the CBC story and read the comments. I frankly expected worse given past comments on topics involving the Pope and the Church. If I recall my Kamloops geography, the alleged in this case is probably a native Canadian as the North Shore is a reserve.

  8. JosephMary says:

    It seems like when these things happen, the assailant is nearly always called ‘mad’ or ‘crazy’. And maybe there is a mental unbalance. There is a woman at my own church who is not ‘quite right’. She hears voices and so forth. She accosted me one day this summer while I was praying in the church. She grabbed me and accused me of praying to the devil and so on. It was quite an unnerving experience. I have told the priests but there is nothing anyone can do unless she harms someone. She has also approached others and told them they are evil and so on.

    When these sorts begin to talk about the devil, there is cause for concern. Is the devil behind it? Certainly that enemy of souls does goad people to sin. When they come to a place where they think that harming their target is a justified self-righteous thing, all care needs to be taken. Often the victim has no idea that the person is thinking along lines of violence.

    Certainly all the constant publicity about every abuse whether from 20 or 70 years ago can get to assailants that come to a deep hatred for the Church and for priests. Many priests do not like to travel or go in public in clerics because of the vitriol directed at them. And just the general hatred among many towards Catholics in general, because of the constant media harrang, is felt by even those of us who do things like keep a 40 Days for Life vigil. I have felt it too.

  9. Esther, I wouldn’t assume that the attacker was not influenced by the liberal MSM. It seems probable to me that their frequent attacks are most likely to incite violence from those on the margins first – such as extremists and the mentally ill.

    Father Z – good zinger at the end of an otherwise horrible story.

  10. markomalley says:

    @FatherZ: Agreed…if you see strange people approaching the Sabine Farm carrying pipes, 2X4’s, and other assorted implements, I would not assume good intentions.

    @Esther: the il-liberal media, with their constant drumbeat against Holy Mother Church, tends to influence some peoples’ opinions. An instable person could easily go over the edge with reports. Your comments:
    This was a man who had a very severe mental illness and wasn’t being properly supervised at the hospital.
    – He was just turned in that morning by family members who were concerned about his mental health. He was being processed for self admission. See here, here, and here.

    Continuing on with your comments: He didn’t read the New York Times and suddenly decide to beat up a bishop. No, you are right there. He probably didn’t read the NYSlimes. But he may well have listened/watched/read the Canadian press.

    He was (and presumably still is, barring a very recent miracle) insane. See the links above. He was not diagnosed by professionals to be that way and I would think it presumptuous for either of us to make an assumption of mental disease one way or the other.

  11. ipadre says:

    Prayers for the Bishop.

    I do agree with Fr. Z. We live in dangerous times. All of us clergy need to be aware of our surroundings. Jesus said “I have come to bring division.” We are seeing hatred for the Church that hold to the sanctity of human life, the dignity of the human person, the sanctify of marriage and unshakable moral standards. Even when preached in love, the devil shutters. This is not the first attack on a bishop or priest and will not be the last.

  12. Dr. Eric says:

    I offer my prayers through the intercession of St. Adolphus Mukasa Ludigo.

  13. teomatteo says:

    So did the article mention about a ‘hate crime’? Seems to me if it had been an Iman that it would have clearly been written up at a possible hate crime… whatever that is…

  14. Kerry says:

    Father, do you see “deranged people”? (Cf., “I see dead people”) May I respectfully suggest you consider acquiring the capacity to reciprocate with blunt objects at 980 to 1350 feet per second? Like a fire extinguisher, one has the ability to put out fires but hopes never to need it. “IHS”

  15. Jaceczko says:

    “People have always gone mad and always will. Most mad people only harm themselves, but a small minority harm others. There will always be people like this. ”

    Sure, Esther, Bishops just randomly get beaten up by people all the time. We should not think the Bishop’s being targeted by this person had anything to do with the fact that he was a bishop. The crazy person just happened to be walking down the street and randomly decided to beat the next person he saw with a blunt object.

    It just so happened that the next person he saw was a bishop.

    Inside a church. Inside a rectory.

    Total random coincidence.

  16. TJerome says:

    very sad. Thank God the bishop will survive.

  17. Supertradmum says:

    I have repeatedly told our seminarians friends that part of their spirituality should be to prepare for martyrdom-either “red” or “green”. With the present political climate, many priests will face imprisonment for such beliefs as not marrying same-sex couples in churches, or denying sacraments to public sinners. The growing tensions in some areas with Muslims, such as certain parts of London and Paris, also mean that priests will be attacked. This is the glory of the Church and we should not be naive about such things happening. Canadians, as a whole, as gentle people in my experience of living there, but they do not like religion, and are highly secularized-more than we are here.

    God bless this bishop and restore him to health.

  18. Supertradmum says:

    Father Z,

    Can you borrow a Swiss Guard?

  19. catholicmidwest says:

    It’s hard to tell what really happened or what really went through this man’s head. But if he’s insane, it could well have had nothing to do with the bishop at all. Insane people sometimes dredge up things and attribute them wrongly, even in a paranoid way, so we may never really find out what happened.

    I hope the bishop recovers okay.

  20. catholicmidwest says:

    PS, to attribute this to politics or the New York Times, or anything of that sort, is quite a stretch. Now if it were happening at the hands of vigilante groups, that would be something different. But insane people often act almost randomly. And I think until otherwise explained, that’s what this should be attributed to.

  21. Magpie says:

    You should get a nice guard dog Father. Perhaps a Doberman, or a German Shepherd. :-)

  22. AnAmericanMother says:

    I second the idea of a nice dog. It needn’t be a ‘guard dog’ breed – any good sized dog who loves you will challenge a threat. My 45 pound Lab (a very gentle breed and ordinarily a very gentle dog) has faced down a pit bull on my behalf and done an excellent guard dog imitation at a shady character who came to our door. She would not hesitate to lay down her life for any of us (greater love hath no dog).

    If you are not a firearms type of person, the fire extinguisher mentioned above makes an excellent non-lethal weapon if the contents are applied to the face of the assailant. My own inclination would be to apply the metal canister to the skull, but that’s just me.

  23. Tim H. says:

    I’ve always been surprised that more of this did not happen.

    Recall that close to seven thousand members of the clergy were killed in Spain not more than 80 years ago (Google “Red Terror”) and that Church property was confiscated and priests imprisoned in Poland as late as the 1950’s. Catholics have been targeted for persecution in Sri Lanka, Sudan and even the modern state of Israel within living memory.

    Indeed, the problems in the Church today (and please don’t bury your head in the sand about our problems) are being used as an excuse by some and I fear that it will get worse. The relative peace and law abiding nature of western societies is no guarantee against organized persection nor against individuals acting out. You hear some parts of secular society give tacid approval when they say, “They deserved what they got.”

    Relative to this particular incident, it is interesting that Murat Altun, who is accused of murdering Turkish Bishop Luigi Padovese, was said to be “Mentally deranged” or “Depressed”. Now another attempt on a bishop’s life and the suspect is again given the label “Deranged” or “Unstable”. Isn’t mental instability a prerequisite for being a murderer?

    Regarding the comments on this page, please stop this silly nonsense about guard dogs, priests carrying guns, and smashing people in the skull with fire extinguishers.


  24. irishgirl says:

    This is terrible. I pray that the Bishop makes a full recovery.
    Yes, you should get a guard dog at the Sabine Farm, Father Z! We wouldn’t want to see you get attacked! Heck, I’d even come to ‘puppy sit’ when you’re ‘on the road’!

  25. wanda says:

    AnAmericanMother, Exactly. I like the way you think. I have a host of other implements I would add to the list of handy-dandy, self-defense items, but I will try to behave.

  26. ericrun says:

    I recall a priest was killed Connecticut, in 1999 I believe ( I knew a seminarian who was a parishioner of his, which is why I remember.

    Whether we will see such events occur more often than it already does, it would need to be because of some new persecution against the church. Personally, if the improvement in the liturgy leads to a increase of charity among the faithful, and economic collapse leads an increased gratitude towards the church, these types of outcomes would probably stay where they are, the occasional outburst by a sick individual.

  27. T. Ungar says:

    The Bishop is not the first in the region to suffer the rage of a mentally ill patient.

    The first Archbishop of the Dioces of Vancouver Island was Charles J. Seghers, the youngest Archbishop on the continent at the time, appointed in the year 1880. He was tireless in his work in establishing hospitals, missions for natives, schools, and built many churches. He died while he was on a trip to Alaska at the hands of his guide who was suffering from mental illness.

    “While there was little interest in any Roman Catholic evangelization of Alaska before Seghers’ death, that single dramatic event guaranteed the establishment of Roman Catholic missions there.”

  28. DcnDon says:

    I notice one commenter states “the alleged in this case is probably a native Canadian .”

    What possible contribution does such a comment make other than to introduce a bias based on the ethnicity of an alleged attacker? If the story were of a child assaulted in a park next to a rectory, would it therefore be acceptable to say “the alleged in this case is probably a Catholic priest?”

    I pray that it would not. Whether this mentally disturbed unfortunate is aboriginal or not, as God’s creation he is also deserving of our prayers.

  29. pseudomodo says:

    This is just getting weirder and weirder… and just in time for Halloween.

    The local new is reporting some details: “”[Bishop Monroe] said he couldn’t help me so I stabbed him in the throat and I drank it because I needed a pick-me-up. ” He then reportedly swam across a frigid rver and was apprehended later.

    One has to wonder about these things…

    Pray for the Bishop – I knew him as an assistant priest in Vancouver.

  30. Jenny bag of donuts says:

    I agree with Esther. I’m convinced that many crimes we read about in the papers are committed by mentally disabled individuals. Sometimes one can hazard a guess by the off the wall quotes of the perpetrater. Meanwhile, the majority of the readers are holding the mentally weak person to the same standards as everyone else. There exists more mental illness in our society than we would like to think and the “system” does not thoroughly protect us. Also, most of us have very little mercy toward the mentally ill. It’s no fun but we need to love them too. Boy, does the Lord ask us to stretch ourselves sometimes! Oy!

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