Cleveland priest shot to death, then burned beyond recognition in his office
Cleveland police announced this morning that they had arrested a suspect for the murder of William Gulas, pastor of St. Stanislaus Church. But as Weblog filed this morning's report, they still hadn't named a motive.
At about noon Saturday, Gulas was shot in the chest and suffered a severe blow to the head, said the coroner. Then a fire (video) was set in his office to cover up the murder. Gulas's body was burned beyond recognition, and it took investigators a long time to discover the murder.
"Who would be so disrespectful of life?" asked Cleveland City Councilman Ed Rybka, one of Gulas's parishioners, in an interview with The Plain Dealer. "This is a holy person on holy ground at a holy time of year. This community will demand justice."
The motive may have been robbery. "Crime here has gotten worse," neighbor Tony Leanza told the Cleveland paper. "The church is all that keeps this corner peaceful."
But if it was for robbery, the murderer wasn't just evil; he was also stupid. Donations from weekend Masses are deposited on Mondays. Thus there would have been very little money at the church on Saturday morning. This is causing some folks to doubt the robbery motive.
Weblog expects a motive to be announced sometime today. Check Google News for updates.
Protestants aiding Voice of the Faithful
"Throughout the last 12 months, as the Catholic Church has struggled with the crisis prompted by revelations that [Cardinal Bernard] Law and other bishops routinely kept sexually abusive priests on the job, Protestant ministers have been quietly reaching out, not to their fellow church leaders, but to embattled Catholic clergy and irate Catholic laypeople," The Boston Globe reported yesterday.
Most notably, Protestant ministers have been opening their churches' doors to meetings of Voice of the Faithful, a lay organization seeking "reform" in the Roman Catholic Church that has been criticized by several Catholic leaders.
Some Voice of the Faithful leaders say meeting at Protestant churches will add to criticisms that the group is disloyal, but one of the main organizations opposing the group says that's not the issue
"The problem is not where they meet," says Carol McKinley, spokeswoman for Faithful Voice. "I don't see this affecting them one way or the other. The real problem is that they've been taught our faith improperly."
These Protestant pastors are typically opening their churches to the groups without the backing of denominational leaders, who have been wary of saying anything about the clergy abuse scandal in the Catholic church, reports Michael Paulson. And they also tend to be liberal, mainline churches that have no interest in attracting Catholics to their churches.
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