Saturday, October 24, 2009

Catham Priest Edward Hinds Murdered: Time to Think, Pray

This is very bad news for one community:
"The janitor at St. Patrick's Church has been charged with murder in the slaying of the church's pastor, the chief prosecutor said Saturday.

"Jose Feliciano stabbed the Rev. Ed Hinds 32 times with a knife after the two got into an argument on Thursday, Morris County Prosecutor Robert Bianchi said. The Roman Catholic priest's body was found in the church's rectory Friday morning.

"Feliciano, 64, has been employed with the church for 17 years, Bianchi said...."
Living a thousand miles west of St. Patrick's Church in Chatham gives me an emotional distance from this terrible situation - for which I'm duly grateful.

A Man Kills a Priest: Everybody Knows What That Means'

There's a dreary sameness to the sort of response a crime like this evokes.

Inevitably, someone brought up the homosexual priest angle in The Star-Ledger's comments:
"Posted by rockman67
"October 24, 2009, 5:53PM

"Sorry, I believe in 2 sides to every story.
Is this possibly a lovers quarrel ?
Was the priest going to say something to others which immensely upset the janitor ? Unfortunately the janitor cracked for some very major reason.
(The Star-Ledger)
None of the news articles I read mentioned motive: Hardly surprising, for a murder discovered Friday and solved Saturday. Someone else suggested that the killing was race-related - The priest was a Euro-American, the killer Puerto Rican - and yet another vented this all-too-familiar sentiment:
"Posted by playitleo
"October 24, 2009, 6:27PM

"One more reason to build a wall on the boarder."
(The Star-Ledger)
I assume that playitleo meant "border" - and does not recommend building a wall on some unspecified tenant of a boarding house. But you never know.

Murder Hurts People

Me? I think that a priest is dead, that the killer was a loved and respected member of the community - I'll get back to that - and that people in St. Patrick's parish are hurting. Bad.

The reason that Jose Feliciano killed Father Edward Hinds is important - and could be almost anything, based on what's in the news. But the motive isn't, in a way, as important as what the murder has done to the community.
"...Feliciano, who had worked at the church for 17 years and was known as 'Mr. Jose,' had lived at a house adjacent to St. Patrick's with his wife before he moved to Pennsylvania, parishioners said. Teenagers home from college would often visit Feliciano, who would always comment on how much they had grown, said parishioner Michael Marotta.

" 'He was more than just the maintenance man,' Marotta, 47, said. 'He's part of the fabric of St. Pat's.'..."
(The Star-Ledger)
Mr. Marotta summed up the situation pretty well, I think:
"...Parishioner Michael Marotta, 47, said he would not have hesitated to leave his three children in the care of either Hinds or Feliciano, whom he described as caring, quiet, hardworking men. Marotta, whose 10-year-old son is enrolled at St. Patrick's School, said Feliciano lived in a home next to the church until a few years ago.

" 'Everyone loses in this,' said Marotta, who lives down the street from the church. 'The church, the broader Chatham community and the Hinds and Feliciano families. It's disheartening.'..."
(AP) [emphasis mine]

Murder Isn't Nice: And We Shouldn't Do It

No surprises here: The Catholic Church doesn't approve of murder, and devotes a hefty chunk of the Catechism to explaining why. (Article 5 / The Fifth Commandment, Catechism of the Catholic Church) As so many things are, the matter of 'don't kill' is a bit complicated.

The Church doesn't preach pacifism. (I know - someone reading this has run into a Catholic who does. Quite a few Catholics haven't learned - or have forgotten - what the Church teaches.) We are allowed to defend ourselves. (2264)

So Father Hinds was not disobeying Church teachings when he tried to keep from being killed. It's even okay for one person to act in defense of someone else. "Legitimate defense can be not only a right but a grave duty for one who is responsible for the lives of others...." (2265)

But that's getting into a whole different topic.


It's easy for me, a thousand miles away and with no deep personal connections to Catham or its citizens, to talk about forgiveness in a situation like this. Anyway, I've written about that sort of thing before.

Something to remember, I think, is that God does forgive us. "After his fall, man was not abandoned by God...." (410)


Finally, if you're hard-up for something to pray about: I think those folks in Catham can use all the help they can get.

Related posts, touching on forgiveness: In the news:

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What's That Doing in a Nice Catholic Blog?

From time to time, a service that I use will display links to - odd - services and retailers.

I block a few of the more obvious dubious advertisers.

For example: psychic anything, numerology, mediums, and related practices are on the no-no list for Catholics. It has to do with the Church's stand on divination. I try to block those ads.

Sometime regrettable advertisements get through, anyway.

Bottom line? What that service displays reflects the local culture's norms, - not Catholic teaching.