From a priest…
Greetings! You have mentioned on your blog a few times that you sometimes receive threats. I received one today. On the advise of my lawyer I reported it to the authorities. Do you have any insight or advise on what else I should do? Is there an easy way to get an ip address or some other information as to where it may have come from?
The priest in question, in a follow up wrote that the threatener also sent a video clip of an extremely violent scene from a movie. He wrote:
The message was very clear, very violent, and very graphic. The Sheriff was taken aback by it and is handing it over to the Department of Criminal Investigation yet today.
This comes up from time to time. Fathers, we have to think about these things.
Just over a year ago, Fr. Hamel was slain, out of hatred for the Faith, in France. Just the other day a priest in Mexico was stabbed in the neck by a nut job and later died. Priests are targets. In January a bishop was attacked during Mass in Newark.
In the last two weeks I have spoken with several priests who have been harassed or threatened by people who are somewhat deranged and who (probably) go on and off their meds.
Father, you did the right thing to report this to your lawyer and law enforcement. If you get something that strikes you as being out of the ordinary, it is better to be safe than sorry. Tell someone.
Also, I save copies of everything, all the harassing notes, nastygrams, and threats. Eventually these nitwits – who are often also perverts – make a mistake. They think they are pretty smart. Eventually they screw up.
Yes, there are, in general, ways to find an IP address in the header of an email. IP addresses are starting points. Sometimes these people use a VPN to “hide” and be anonymous. That complicates the situation a little. Masking your IP and location with a VPN or other only goes so far. You are being logged, no question, and law enforcement can find you.
Another issue to consider is safety, for yourselves and for your parishioners. I warmly recommend, Fathers, taking classes for a concealed carry license and obtaining one. Even if you choose to not carry, your would be attacker won’t know that. And the training is useful in many ways.
At the conclusion of the Last Supper, in Luke 22 Our Lord said something pertinent to the question:
36 He said to them, “But now, let him who has a purse take it, and likewise a bag. And let him who has no sword [máchaira] sell his mantle and buy one. 37 For I tell you that this scripture must be fulfilled in me, ‘And he was reckoned with transgressors’; for what is written about me has its fulfilment.” 38 And they said, “Look, Lord, here are two swords.” And he said to them, “It is enough.”
Not long after, He told Peter not to use the sword that he had. So, it is hard to know what the High Priest meant about his Apostles buying and having swords on the very threshold of His Passion.
For my part, I have a “sword”.
Also, make sure that your rectories are secured.
Moreover, talk to any LEOs in your parish about security for your church. Just recently where I am a parish had an “active shooter” workshop. That could be a good idea.
In addition, Fathers, make sure you know whom to contact in the case of a real threat. Along with consulting your lawyer, you should look online for a contact number or name in your local sheriff’s and/or police department for reporting threats. I, for example, have bookmarked a specific page and I have also reached out and established contact with the captain of the local police precinct in my part of town. If something big comes up, I will know precisely whom to contact.
Keep your head on a swivel. Practice good situational awareness.
I believe that we will soon see an increase in threats and violent attacks on church property and on priests and, God forbid, even congregations. The rise of violent Islam, militant homosexualists, and idiotic young anarchists must be a concern for which we should plan.
If you preach the truth with clarity and fidelity to the Church’s teachings, no matter how charitable or kind you are, you are going to be attacked. I think that attacks will rise as things get dumber and weirder more more carnal. And there are always going to be deranged people. This too will probably worse as the drug problem worsens.
The moderation queue is ON. I’ll be selective.