Ousted seminarian reportedly confesses to priest's murder
When Roman Catholic priest William Gulas was shot to death, then burned, in his office at Cleveland's St. Stanislaus Church, neighbors complained about the crime rate in the Slavic Village neighborhood. Others worried about burgeoning anti-Catholicism. But police now say that Gulas's murderer was one of the church's own workers.
Daniel Montgomery, a Catholic Theological Union seminarian who has worked as an intern at the church since July, pled not guilty yesterday to the murder. In court, his lawyer said they hadn't met yet, but he was planning to examine Montgomery's mental health. "Here is an individual with no history of violence and very much of a pacifist," said Henry Hilow. "We have to look at what are the reasons that could explain the behavior he is accused of."
Montgomery's father agreed that his son was against guns, but indicated that he believes his son is guilty. "All his life he was against violence, against guns. As far as I know he never handled a gun. That would be the first one he picked up and unfortunately his aim was good," Joe Montgomery told Philadelphia's WCAU (video). "Seven years of frustration, he was in there, and he thought he was coming close to being established and he was told he had to leave the order and I think he just snapped."
Despite the plea, The Plain Dealer reported this morning that Montgomery has confessed to the murder and arson.
"In the weeks before the slaying, Franciscan officials had decided to terminate Montgomery's internship at St. Stanislaus," the Cleveland newspaper reports. "They told Montgomery the day before Thanksgiving, and he was scheduled to move out of the rectory today. One of the primary reasons for terminating him, sources said yesterday, was his use of profanity at the church's elementary school."
Montgomery, who was an unordained "Brother" at the church, tutored the kids in reading, especially the second graders. Rayvin Kelly, 7, says he "was nice to all the kids."
But others say he didn't really fit in well.
Thomas Luczak, provincial leader of the Franciscan order, told the Associated Press that Montgomery had shown himself unfit to be a Franciscan. (Other news reports say police accused him of misconduct with a male parishioner.) Gulas made reports on Montgomery's performance, Luczak said, but he wasn't the one who decided to end the internship.
Montgomery was the one to report the fire to authorities ("The 911 tape raised some flags," Cuyahoga County prosecutor William Mason told The New York Times). He even talked to reporters after it was clear that Gulas had died.
- Is Bush deaf to church doubts on Iraq war? | This time, the church protest of war is significant, both in its breadth and its early clarity (Jim Wallis, The Boston Globe)
- Groups gather to protest Iraq war | About half the 200 protesters outside the U.S. mission to the United Nations in New York were arrested for disorderly conduct, including clergy members (Associated Press)
- Antiwar effort gains momentum | Growing peace movement's ranks include some unlikely allies (The Washington Post)
- Murder in religion's name | The United States cannot win this fight without the cooperation of governments in the Islamic states (Editorial, The New Haven Register)
Missions and Ministries:
- Crusade to rock Carolina Center | Variety of contemporary Christian acts planned for 4-day event (The State, S.C.)
- U.S. Samaritans send Christmas gifts | The world's largest cargo plane will next week jet into Entebbe loaded with the biggest Christmas gift to have ever come into the country (New Vision, Kampala, Uganda)
- Wife's slaying leaves missionary with nothing but forgiveness | Gary Witherall walked before the hushed church in Fayetteville on Sunday and raised his empty hands (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
- Two 'roaring lambs' honored by ministry | Todd and Lisa Beamer celebrated for living out their faith in all aspects of their daily lives (Ft. Worth [Tex.] Star-Telegram)
- Angels have taken sanctuary in a former church | A Wisconsin woman is up to her wing tips in a museum with more than 7,500 statues and figurines depicting the heavenly creatures (Associated Press)
- Churches act to buttress the family | Pastors once thought just being Christians would save marriages. Now they're offering counseling, before and after the nuptials (Los Angeles Times)
- Onward Christian soldier | Ole Anthony has devoted his life—and his ministry—to exposing corrupt televangelists. but not everyone agrees he's doing God's work (Los Angeles Times)
- Catholic campus meets 'need' in South | The nation's first Catholic university founded by laymen opens in balmy west Florida next fall, a project funded by Domino's Pizza founder Thomas S. Monaghan for a growing church population in the South (The Washington Times)
- Zimbabwe Council of Churches: Are you ready to face judgment day? | ZCC does appear to be living on a different planet from the rest of us ordinary folks (Zimbabwe Standard, Harare)
- Christianity goes pop | Jesus, a groovy Messiah full of compassion who slays vampires with kung fu? (Toronto Star)
- University dissects relationship between 'Amazing Grace' author, British abolitionist | Officials at Samford University in Birmingham have announced plans to publish the complete works of John Newton (Minneapolis Star-Tribune)
- The nativity, now chasing the Rockettes | "Spread the Word," a rollicking gospel chorale, concludes "Nativity: A Life Story," the Broadway-size and starry Christmas pageant that had three performances over the weekend at the United Palace in Washington Heights (The New York Times)
- And the Lord delivered them from evil | For five years his congregation at the Newmarket Community Church prayed that the city's only strip club, Lookers, would pack up and move. None imagined that their prayers would be answered—by their own church. (The Globe and Mail, Toronto)
- Scandal leaves church changed | Rifts created by allegations against the ex-pastor will not heal soon, analysts say (The Press Enterprise, inland California)
- Setting their own schedules | More Boomers are fitting jobs around other pursuits (The Washington Post)
- Break-off group forms Lutheran church | A group of local Lutherans committed to strict adherence to the biblical message is opening its doors to the public after quietly building its foundation over the past two years (The Flint [Mich.] Journal)
- 2002 Yearend: Faith—Bad news and good news | While denominations are shrinking—and their leaderships seem often more preoccupied with accommodating all kinds of sexual urges than with spreading the Gospel—confessional movements within these same churches are growing fast and sturdily (Uwe Siemon-Netto, UPI)
- Is the influence of Christianity waning? Survey says so | Forty-one percent of those surveyed predicted Christianity will be less of an influence in the lives of Americans a decade from now (Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs)
- Heritage alert as 1,000 churches face closure | Britain is facing a loss of church buildings second only to that which took place in the Reformation, a report has said (The Times, London)
- Also: Lest we forget | Flexibility is the key to finding new uses for old churches (Editorial, The Times, London)
- In glorious praise of beauty's resurrection | Graceful grandeur has been restored to chapel at College of Notre Dame (The Baltimore Sun)
- Church caught in ethnic enmity | Rain is ruining a 10th century house of worship in Turkey. A critic blames neglect on fear of Armenian territorial claims (Los Angeles Times)
- Church goes to court over zoning conflict | The church seeks a temporary and permanent injunction before the case goes to trial on Jan. 13, since it is illegal to pray inside the existing structure, according to court documents (The South Florida Business Journal)
- Charges spur clergy debate on discipline | Criminal charges against a Newport News minister have raised debate among local clergy about the use of corporal punishment by parents and other authority figures when disciplining a child (Daily Press, Hampton Roads, Va.)
- Clergy ask Government to spare the rod | Auckland church leaders yesterday entered the smacking debate, asking the Government to repeal the law that allows parents to smack their children (The New Zealand Herald)
- Beat on the brat | The economics of spanking (Steven E. Landsburg, Slate.com)
Other stories of interest:
- Vicar strips for saucy calendar | Canon Michael Storey, 66, posed as Mr. October with only a filling cabinet drawer to protect his modesty (BBC)
- BBC: Mary was no virgin | Firstly it looks at the possibility that she slept with Joseph while she was engaged to be married to him, secondly that she was raped by a Roman soldier, and thirdly that she fell pregnant to an unidentified man before marrying Joseph (The Sunday Herald, Scotland)
- Lightning: myths, beliefs and truths | Scientists, traditionalists and Christians or religious people in general have different perceptions about it, and can only all agree on its existence (The Times of Zambia)
- Black leaders plan Jesse Jackson protest | The protesters, a loosely knit group of about 300 who call themselves Voices of Morality, are also asking businesses and corporations to ignore Mr. Jackson (The Washington Times)
- Earlier: Still Somebody | Despite an embarrassing scandal and widespread irritation with his methods, Jesse Jackson continues to be an influential voice in the church. Should evangelicals listen? (Christianity Today, Feb. 8, 2002)
- eBay won't allow church to exploit car's fame in online auction |A Colorado church won't be able to have a second auction if it plays on the fame of a car once owned by the Texas Seven escapees, although it can still put the Honda up for bids without linking it to the crimes (Motor Trend)
- Is there a God? Pair trade opinions | Many listen to the debate, but few seem to have changed their minds (Sacramento Bee)
- Voyage into the unknown | Hiding behind the comfort of belief are destructive forces. (David Bryant, The Guardian, London)
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