Man sets priest on fire during mass


An assailant has sprayed a Roman Catholic priest with flammable liquid and set him alight during mass in a church in Lithuania, police in the Baltic state say.

Father Remigijus Kuprys, 46, managed to extinguish the flames with the help of worshippers, but suffered facial burns.

The attack occurred during the service on Thursday in the central Lithuanian town of Jonava, when a 42-year-old local resident sprayed Kuprys with the flammable liquid and set it ablaze with a cigarette lighter.

The motives of the assailant, identified by police only by his initials JD, were unknown.

”We have reports that he had repeatedly disrupted masses and shouted weird statements. Investigators are deciding on psychiatric tests,” officer Mindaugas Juknys said today.

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10 responses to “Man sets priest on fire during mass”

  1. There are mentally ill folks everywhere—this being one apparently. Happy the priest wasn’t hurt any more than he was.

  2. pagansister, as ill as Nero and co. were who used to burn Christians? Let’s not be dismissive by labeling a clearly hate motivated crime a ‘mental illness.’

  3. KM: Believe me I’m not making lite of the situation or dismissive of the situation. I was trying to not call the man a “nut case”. The man needs to be punished to the extent the law can do so. There is no excuse for his actions.

  4. Irenaeus of NY: It’s a daily Mass (Thursday) I think.. In my church, it’s normal to have only a handful of people attending daily Mass, but our churches are always full to the brim come Sundays or Holy Days of Obligation.

  5. I think it’s clear the man must be mentally unwell. However, his act was also clearly motivated by hatred: the two are not mutually exclusive categories.

  6. I am very surprise to see how our priests are exposed to danger during mass… and I would think… that among the lay people that serve with father during mass there will be few men at the front as guardian to intervene in an emergency event.
    Our parish priest one sunday morning mass had a women came right to him at communion time and insulted him. I was scare for my priest at that time.

  7. @ KM: In case you missed it: “‘We have reports that he had repeatedly disrupted masses and shouted weird statements. Investigators are deciding on psychiatric tests,’ officer Mindaugas Juknys said today.” And Nero may not have been completely sane even by the standards of the time.

    We don’t have the full story behind the attack, so we don’t really know what prompted “JD” to this attack. But so far as we can call any kind of hate “rational”, the line between hate motivated by reason and hate caused by mental illness is sometimes thin and blurry. “JD’s” hatred, which on the surface appears to be of the second kind, is in some ways preferable to the more subtle and rational hatred of people like, say, the ACLU.

  8. Could not this man have been demonically possessed? Is there anything the devil and his demons hate more than the divine liturgy?

  9. I’m not sure our local priests have ever been physically attacked while on the altar but here is a story I know is true because I saw it unfold.

    A 65 year old single man — with a clearly diagnosed and well known mental illness — made a pest of himself by quietly but deliberately placing Tridentine items on the altar in my parish before Mass on Sunday. Several times the ushers escorted him out; once the police were called but he left before they arrived (in our state it is a crime — minor misdemeanor to deliberately interrupt religious services of any kind). Upon the advice of the City Prosecutor, our pastor send him a “persona non grata” letter. He had enough wits about him to catch on that he wasn’t wanted in my parish anymore. Unfortunately, he just transferred his grief to another parish across town — much to the annoyance of those folks.

    It wasn’t until some time later that we all found out that he had been a seminarian during the mid-late 1960’s and had been “washed-out” before receiving orders of any kind. No one seems to genuinely know why but it all kinda fits.

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