Officer slain in Boulder shooting was a TLM parishioner. Wherein Fr. Z rants about death and YOU. UPDATED

UPDATE: 26 March

Time has been changed to noon MDT. Still at the Denver Cathedral with
an FSSP celebrant.

the link for livestream is

Originally Published on: Mar 24, 2021

Recently there was a terrible mass shooting in

Boulder, CO perpetrated by a adherent of the Religion of Peace.

One of the victims was a Boulder Police Officer, Eric Talley, 11 year vet, 51 years old, husband, father of 7.  He responded to the incident and he was killed.

Officer Talley and family belong to Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Littleton, staffed by priests of the FSSP, including my friend Fr. Jackson, author of the fine book Nothing Superfluous.  The family attended the Traditional Latin Mass there.

I am told that there will be a Solemn Requiem Mass for Talley at the Denver Catholic on Monday at 1430 (Mountain).

I wonder if I didn’t meet Talley when I was at their parish for Forty Hours a few years ago.  I met a lot of great people.

This incident reminds us all that we do not know the time or place of our death.  It could be far off in terms of swiftly flying earthly years.  It could be in your very next breath and before you read another word of this post.

One of the most poignant and important petitions in the Litany of Saints is our plea to God:

A subitanea et improvisa morte, libera nos, Domine.

From a sudden and unprovided death, save us, O Lord.

Sudden death is one thing.   It can be a grace, as opposed to a long, drawn out agony.   On the other hand, for some people the long agony is a grace, for it gives them the chance to repent and offer their suffering in reparation for their sins.

So, sudden or foreseen or long or quick… that’s one thing.

Unprovided is another. 

An “unprovided” death is a death without access to the last sacraments, especially absolution from a priest.

That’s a scary thought…. especially if you haven’t been to confession for a  long time.

When did you last go to confession?

Dear readers, one of the main reason I put myself into this blog, my force multiplier, is because every single one of you is going to die.

I want every one of you to enjoy the happiness of heaven.

Some of you, however, haven’t darkened the door of a confessional for a long time.

I tremble for you.

I beg you.


It might be your last.

This is one of the reasons why I pray for my enemies and ask God to help me forgive them.   Even today, I’ve been told that I was attacked again online by a troubled person who often spreads lies about me in a public forum.

I take seriously what the Lord says.  If we do not forgive, we will not be forgiven.  If you have problems with someone, do your best to work them out while you can.

This is also why I often use the prayers during Holy Mass “for a good death”.

Preparing and praying for a good death – for ourselves and for our neighbors – is one of the most important things we can do AS CATHOLICS, as followers of Christ.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Four Last Things, GO TO CONFESSION, Hard-Identity Catholicism and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. MWCooney says:

    I shudder when I think of the “lost decades” during my time away from God and His Church. Those years were also the ones during which my particular career choices placed me in greater-than-average danger of sudden death. I am amazed and grateful that the Lord did not take me during that time, and I am trying to ensure that I amend my ways, especially with regard to frequent confession.

  2. Gregg the Obscure says:

    Yes, the funeral is set to be at the Denver Cathedral (my own parish mistakenly referred to above as Denver Catholic). The city has been strict about the attendance limit of 175 – fire code allows for 800.

  3. Gregg the Obscure says:

    my own error: requiem Mass not funeral.

  4. JustaSinner says:

    Isn’t one of the Promises the Blessed Mother received from her Son that devotees of the Holy Rosary would die a peaceful death and not die unprovidedly?

  5. Kathleen10 says:

    The faithful should fill the streets if they can’t get into the church. Hold vigil.

    Eternal rest grant unto him O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him. May he rest in peace, and please Lord, comfort his wife, children, and family. Amen.

    If this were America in a saner time, we would demand an automatic death penalty for anyone taking the life of a police officer, to be exacted within 60 days of the offense. Such attacks which are attacks not only against officers but against law and order itself, would drop to almost zero. America is no longer sane. God help us.

  6. AlanLins says:

    I would appreciate knowing if the Solemn Requiem Mass for Officer Talley is going to be livestreamed.

  7. Kathleen10 says:

    Sorry, Fr. Z. Not the time or place, perhaps. It’s just exasperation.

  8. Kent Wendler says:

    “An ‘unprovided’ death is a death without access to the last sacraments, especially absolution from a priest.”

    Part of my bedtime prayers is an intercessory one, to my patron, Anthony of Padua, that no matter what the circumstance of my death (even sudden) that our Lord will somehow provide me with the last sacraments – especially the Apostolic Pardon. After all, time is but another one of God’s creatures and He can do with it whatever He wills – even if something seems instantaneous to us in mortal life.

  9. John21 says:

    @JustaSinner Yes, the 7th Promise of the Rosary reads thus: “Whoever shall have a true devotion for the Rosary shall not die without the sacraments of the Church.” Granted, I can’t find where in the 15 promises a peaceful death is assured, but I think dying with the sacraments is as peaceful as it gets.

    A nice graphic on the promises:

    God bless!

  10. Danteewoo says:

    AlanLins, the Mass for Officer Eric Talley will be livestreamed. Contact Our Lady of Mt. Carmel FSSP parish in Littleton (Denver) and see if they can add you to the parish flocknotes. 303-703-8538 or “”

  11. JulieHoward says:

    I couldn’t agree with you more! Years ago we started praying our 4th decade of the Rosary for our enemies after finding it hard to forgive someone. No hatred in Heaven, only love. So we best love even our enemies…. afterall, Christ did…

    Praying for Mr. Talley and family. May he rest in Peace. I cannot fathom the agony they suffer at this moment. Makes my heart ache.

  12. misternaser says:

    The Colorado State Lodge Fraternal Order of Police is accepting donations to assist Officer Talley’s family here:

  13. Sportsfan says:

    I imagine he had a quite peaceful death, especially if he was the one that got the leg shot in that stopped this guy.
    He died knowing he saved lives either way.
    “Peaceful” can mean “nonviolent.” But it can also mean “untroubled”, “composed”, or “constant.” I’m sure our Lady was referring to the state of one’s soul not the manner of physical death.

  14. Semper Gumby says:

    God bless Officer Eric Talley and all victims of that jihadi.

  15. kimberley jean says:

    Our Lady promised a provided death. That means not having any mortal sin that could keep you out of Heaven forever. Our Lord did not die a peaceful death so none of us has any right to ask for one.

  16. This is from a reader:

    Dear OLMC Parishioners,

    The time for Eric’s funeral on Monday has not yet been solidified, but
    we will show the funeral live streamed in our parish hall, and will
    also send out the link via Flocknote, when it is made available.

    Our Homeschooling group has made the following Spiritual Bouquet for
    Eric and the family, for all of us to offer our prayers:

    Several donation links have been established for the Talley family,
    and we want to make sure you are aware that GoFund Me takes the
    highest percentage of donations for their fee, so we don’t recommend
    giving through them.
    Here is a link to the Colorado FOP (Fraternal Order of Police) fund
    for the Talley Family done through PayPal:

    And here is a link to a Tee shirt drive by the Boulder Police
    Officer’s Association:

  17. JPCahill says:

    The topic reminds me of a favourite prayer from St John Henry Newman. (I’m not sure I didn’t first see it here on your site, Father.) But the text I use came from the Ignatius Press edition of “John Henry Newman Prayers, Verses and Devotions”:

    “Oh, my Lord and Saviour, support me in that hour in the strong arms of Thy Sacraments, and by the fresh fragrance of Thy consolations. Let the absolving words be said over me, and the holy oil sign and seal me, and Thy own Body be my food, and Thy Blood my sprinkling; and let my sweet Mother, Mary, breathe on me and my Angel whisper peace to me, and my glorious Saints . . . smile upon me; that in them all, and through them all, I may receive the gift of perseverance, and die, as I desire to live, in Thy faith, in Thy Church, in Thy service, and in Thy love. Amen.”

  18. JoeinMaryland says:

    Fr. Z, that was a great column – thank you for writing it! When I was much younger, I myself was away from Confession for many years, and I thank God he did not allow me to die during that time. Now, I strive to go every two to three weeks.

    I am happy to read that Officer Talley was a Catholic. May God rest his soul and those of all victims of that shooting, as well as the souls of all law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty. I cannot fathom how any American can dislike or hate law enforcement officers, when they willingly put their lives on the line, EVERY DAY, for strangers. They are the best of us. God bless and protect them all.

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  20. Kerry says:

    One hopes those attending the Mass will ignore the “…city…strict attendance limits”.

    What’s the city gonna do? Call the cops…

    Donation given.

  21. dallenl says:

    Believe there is something written about laying down one’s life for others. Officer Talley exemplified that to the end.

  22. Adelle Cecilia says:

    I know that we cannot be certain of the promises of the St. Bridget prayers, but the main gist was that our souls’ needs, in preparation of our death, would be provided for.

    Thank you for this important reminder, Father.

    May God bless Officer Talley’s family, and may his soul rest in peace.

  23. RichR says:

    Thank you for posting the donation link to give to this family.

  24. AA Cunningham says:

    From Father James Jackson FSSP, Pastor of Our Lady of Mount Carmel as published in the bulletin for Palm Sunday, March 28, 2021:

    “- Tomorrow we will celebrate a solemn high Requiem for Officer Eric Talley at the Cathedral Basilica. He was a hero – by all accounts a splendid Catholic man. While he did not attend our parish, as only recently did his wife and children start to come here, still, we will do all in our power to insure that the utmost respect will be lavished upon him with the requiem, and whatever charity we can provide to Mrs. Talley and her family in the aftermath.”

    On Saturday, April 3rd at 6:00 PM Father Jackson will celebrate a High Mass for +Officer Talley.

  25. AA Cunningham says:

    The bulletin insert from Father James Jackson FSSP for Easter Sunday, April 4, 2021.

    On Eric Talley’s Funeral

    I am so proud of our parishioners. The way you stepped up and did all in your power to help with Officer Talley’s funeral makes my heart swell with pride. A gentleman from Eric’s side of the family, who is not Catholic, put his hand on my shoulder and asked, “Was that choir from your parish?” I said yes, and he continued “Well I’m not Catholic, so I didn’t know what was going on, but their singing did much to heal my heart. Tell them thank you for me.” How kind of him!

    And how kind the ushers were — so competent, attentive, respectful, and helpful in a dozen ways.

    And the altar boys. I’m so proud of our lads. They work so hard to serve well. Their dedication and the selflessness of their parents who drive them to the practices and to the funeral is such a boon to our parish.

    And all of you who came to pay your respects to the Rosary and viewing — your devotion was unfeigned, warm, and natural.

    And the excellent ladies of the Altar and Rosary Society; attending to every little detail so that the Talley’s would feel welcome and supported by the parish. You really stepped up.

    And so many of you asked, ”What can we do? Do the Talley’s need anything?” I know that anything they need from the parish will be immediately forthcoming.

    And how proud I am of my assistants! They worked so hard, and divided up the work that needs to be done on a quotidian basis. They are such a blessing to me.

    And the temporary kneelers at the Cathedral which are not very good, gave us some worry. So some men in our parish built some excellent kneelers in no time, had them here in good time, and loaded them in my pickup for me to drive down to the Cathedral.

    I must mention Fr. Robinson of the Society of St. Pius X at St. Isidore’s. The Talley’s used to attend St. Isidore’s, and as we do not have a matching solemn set of black vestments, he graciously allowed us to use the vestments of St. Isidore’s. God bless him and St. Isidore’s.

    Meeting so many police officers before and after the funeral, and before and after the memorial, made my heart swell with gratitude and patriotism. I felt powerful old stirrings like those which moved me to serve in the military long ago. I want to be a cop! But that is not God’s will. We each serve In our own way.

    I also met two permanent deacons of the Archdiocese who were very, very supportive and helpful. They are both police officers; one of them put on his clerics and sat with Fr. Nolan on the Flatirons stage. After that, they took us to dinner and we ate Italian with tall glasses of beer and spoke of many good things, and had some good laughs. It was just what the doctor ordered. What splendid men these officers are — what good deacons.

    Several have asked what the sermon was that I quoted from at the Requiem about the Agony in the Garden. It is Discourse # 16, by Cardinal Newman, entitled Mental Sufferings of Our Lord in His Passion. You can find it online at: I read it at the beginning of each Lent. There is no other sermon like it that I know of.

    A poem which was read at the memorial service for Officer Talley could serve as something we could pray for all those who stand on the thin blue line. It was written by the Talley children on Christmas of 2019. It’s called Our Unsung Hero, which was read at the memorial service.

    Dad, our unsung hero,
    You never count the cost.
    Whatever we need is never too much,
    But our praises have not been enough.
    Dad, our unsung hero,
    You daily risk your life at work
    To guard and care for the welfare of the needy.
    Oh, our praises could never be enough.
    Dad, our unsung hero,
    Who provides so well for us,
    We’ve not realized all you do for us.
    Our praises have not been enough.
    Dad, our unsung hero,
    Who guards and guides our way,
    We love you, and we thank you
    On this Christmas Day.
    May the Angels watch over you
    And guard you on your way.
    May God Bless and protect you
    And bring you home each day.

    I must tell you of something else. Traditionally, all the consecrated chrism (oil) that is left over from the previous year is poured into the grave of the last priest or deacon who has died. But the archbishop ordered the chrism to be poured into Eric’s grave. This is a great honor for a layman, and we were deeply moved when we heard he had done this. That gesture and his presence in the sanctuary for the funeral were superb acts of kindness on his part.

    When the coffin was slowly lowered into the ground after the prayers, you could smell the chrism coming up. Each of us was given a red rose to place on the coffin before we left the beautiful cemetery at Sacred Heart of Mary parish in Boulder. The pastor came out to be with us, and the altar boys of the parish really knew what they were doing.

    Two violinists began to play Ave Maria as we filed away. I turned to look at the last ones by the grave, who were officers of the Boulder P.D. were broken hearted, but so dignified, so respectful, as one by one they said their goodbyes. Seeing their sorrow was when I could no longer hold my tears back. I could barely get out the words, “I’m sorry for your loss.”

    Eternal rest grant unto him O lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him. May his soul, and the souls of all the faithful departed, rest in peace. Amen.

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