Which is to say without any temporal weapons.
Unfortunately, the tragedy in the FSSP parish in Phoenix, Arizona, took a dreadful turn when the surviving priest’s firearm was used in the slaying of young Fr. Kenneth Walker. In case you missed Deacon Greg’s post this morning, there is more information about this in The Week,
The story of the assault is where the tragic story gets interesting. According to police, Rev. Terra opened the door of the Mother of Mercy Mission rectory to look into noises in the courtyard when Moran attacked him and beat him with a metal rod. Injured, Terra retrieved his .357-caliber handgun from his room, but Moran allegedly took it from him and robbed Terra at gunpoint before the priest blacked out. When he woke up, Rev. Walker had been shot by Terra’s gun.
The Los Angeles Times has a little more about this series of unfortunate events.
After Terra got away and retrieved a gun he kept in his nightstand — a Colt Python .357 — his finger was too injured to pull the trigger, he told police later, according to court records.
The attacker managed to take the gun from Terra, made the priest get on his hands and knees and give him money, and then used Terra’s gun to shoot Father Walker, who had come to investigate the commotion, police said.
You know, in the military, chaplains don’t carry pieces. That’s one of the jobs (protecting the chaplain) that a chaplain’s assistant is tasked with. But not the chaplain himself. They go about their important business unarmed. Remember the Catholic chaplains that were awarded the Medal of Honor? What makes their bravery so stunning, so arresting, and so downright fantastic, is that they did everything while completely unarmed. Alone, unarmed, and unafraid.
Alone, but not really “alone.”
See, I want priests cups to be running over with spiritual weapons, and the full complement of spiritual armor too. I just can’t help thinking that priests shouldn’t be packing heat, even though I know they have every right to. St. Paul gets to the heart of the matter in his second letter to the Corinthians,
I, Paul, myself entreat you, by the meekness and gentleness of Christ—I who am humble when face to face with you, but bold to you when I am away! I beg of you that when I am present I may not have to show boldness with such confidence as I count on showing against some who suspect us of acting in worldly fashion. For though we live in the world we are not carrying on a worldly war, for the weapons of our warfare are not worldly but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every proud obstacle to the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete.
We lost Casey Kasum this week, but I’m calling in a dedication for the following song, which I shared in a post with a few other appropriate tunes, shortly after the Sandy Hook tragedy.
Prayers for the grieving family of Fr. Kenneth Walker, for his immortal soul, for Fr. Joseph Terra’s full recovery, both physically, and mentally, and prayers that justice may be done in this case for all. I pray also that we put away the weapons of the world while pursuing our mission to help Christ, by being His hands, save the world. Amen.
A reader sends,
The Angelic Doctor: Whether it is lawful for clerics and bishops to fight?