Internet Trolls Torment Newton Priest

Elizabeth Scalia, who blogs at The Anchoress and is one of the most generous people it has been my privilege to know, wrote today about another egregious example of internet cruelty.

The internet gives the mentally unbalanced and the just plain mean people among us a way to hit out at others. Troubling events agitate these folks and get them moving.

The Sandy Hook tragedy has been a magnet for both the good and the bad among us. Almost everyone has responded to it with compassion, grief and love. But the nasty unhinged are still out there, doing their worthless thing. Elizabeth wrote about one of the sorrier aspects of this sorry behavior: The attacks on a newly-ordained priest who has faced his personal baptism by fire in ministering to the shattered people of his parish in Newton Connecticut.

We need our pastors most in times like this. It is to Fr Suarez’ everlasting credit that he is there for these people. It is to the everlasting discredit of those who are attacking him that they are behaving this way.

I’m going to lift a hefty chunk from Elizabeth’s post. I want you to be able to read it and get the gist of what’s happening and the opportunity she offers us to help. Be sure to read the rest of the post here.

Do you remember this picture, of these priests, Monsignor Robert Weiss and Father Luke Suarez, at the scene of carnage in Newtown?

Well, while I’m sure both priests are seeing some hate it seems the young Father Suarez, who is not two years a priest, is being targeted by creatures who enthralled to the ugly and the dark. Writes his sister, in an outreach. All emphasis mine:
My friends,
All of you, I am sure, have heard so much about the tragedy in Newtown, CT. Many of you have received emails from me about my younger brother, Father Luke Suarez, who is a priest at St. Rose of Lima parish, a Catholic church just down the road from Sandy Hook Elementary. He, and his pastor, Monsignor Weiss, arrived at the school within moments of the shooting, and have been caring for the community ever since. The picture I have included was taken at the school.
Father Luke has an impossible task before him. His diocese is without a bishop right now. . .Monsignor…is personally devastated by the losses. The parish is very large…The rectory has received serious threats, and as my brother gave the homily Sunday at the noon mass, the church had to be evacuated by SWAT teams. After experiencing identity theft and online hacking incidents, he had to erase all of his internet accounts. After a weekend of endless media requests, notifications and vigils with heartbroken families, and little sleep, he now has two wakes and two funerals every day, until the fourth Sunday of Advent. Father Luke has not even been ordained two years.
My large family has been trying to send Father Luke our love and support from afar, and one of my brothers was able to visit with him briefly a couple times. All he asks for is prayer.
I have been wracking my brain, trying to think of a way that our beautiful, loving community could tangibly reach out to Father Luke, Monsignor Weiss, and the St. Rose parish, to support them in this most awful of times. I have sent many prayer requests, and I am asking for more prayers again. But I also want to ask everyone to search their hearts, and if the Holy Spirit moves you, please consider sending one of your family’s Christmas cards to the rectory, with a few words of love and encouragement. Here is his address:
Father Luke Suarez
46 Church Hill Road
Newtown, CT 06470
My brother has said over and over again that without the prayer support he is receiving, he could not keep going. And this week is only the beginning. Everyone there is still in shock. Their peaceful home has been desecrated by violence. They will need to live with this sorrow forever.
But in our weakness is His strength. Grace abounds. Can you help me carry him through this time of trial?
On a hopeful note, Father Luke did say that no media coverage has even touched the deep, beautiful awakening of faith that has occurred there. Their tiny church, where my children have received sacraments and where Luke was ordained, has been full of people in prayer without ceasing since this tragedy happened. Love is stronger than death.

Please feel free to share the address with your family, friends, and community. An outpouring of love will sustain these good priests through their impossible ministry–impossible on their own, but possible with God.
I read stuff like this and I think of Samuel L. Jackson in Pulp Fiction telling Tim Roth, “I am the tyranny of evil men, but I’m trying, Ringo, I’m trying real hard to be a shepherd.”
I’m putting cards in the mail to both priests — what a good idea — and also remembering them in my prayers. Will you, too?

  • Bill S

    I feel like my father who used to tell me that he loved to golf but that he hated golfers. He just didn’t like the rude behavior of some people that he met on the links. I’m sure that he didn’t mean that he hated all golfers, but I understand his point.

    In the past couple of years I have gone from being a devout Catholic to an atheist. The way my father felt toward other golfers, I kind of feel toward other atheists. I would rather debate with believers than commiserate with nonbelievers. That way there is at least the hope that I will lose a debate or two.

    I’ll admit that, having been raised Catholic, I now have a certain amount of animosity towards the Church in regard to some of the things that I was taught. But the worst I would ever do is argue in a dignified and civil manner. But that’s not what I see in others, not all others, but some.

    It’s too bad that people have to be like that. The Church is doing the best it can to counsel and comfort the victims’ friends and relatives. To prey on a young priest at a time like this is inexcusable.

    • Beth D

      Bill S: I went from being an atheist to being a devout Catholic, and have similar issues with my former fellow nonbelievers. I too would rather lose an honest debate with believers than nonbelievers, because all too often Charity towards another’s dissenting opinion is utterly absent when debating with the latter.

      I thank you for reminding me that civil debate is not at all impossible with unbelievers – that the reminder came at this time of year and during this time of tragedy brings that truth home all the more.

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  • Sus

    My kids made and sent cards in CCD for this man.

    When I hear about something like this, I do get scared.

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  • Sarah

    “Thank you for the outpouring of love to our parish and community. Somehow the information has failed to get out that we have THREE priests… so please also pray and send love and support to Fr. Ignacio Ortigas – the senior vicar who works with Msgr “Bob” (as we call Msgr Robert Weiss), along with Fr. Luke at our parish. Fr. Ignacio is about 6 years ordained and from the Philippines, is a terribly humble man and a wonderful preacher and a good friend of mine.”

    Cards could simply be sent to the Parish:

    St. Rose of Lima Parish
    46 Church Hill RD.
    Newton, CT 06470