Parishioners found Fr. Eric Freed’s body after he didn’t show up for morning daily Mass.
A priest in Eureka, CA was found dead in his rectory yesterday. Parishioners sought him out when he didn’t show up for morning daily Mass. Local police suspect the priest was murdered.
Fr. Eric Freed was the pastor of St. Bernard parish and was beloved by his flock. The parish’s website now features an image of a cross with the words “Rest in Peace” above the priest’s name.
"This is an absolutely tremendous loss not only for the St. Bernard's Parish, but for our community generally," the mayor of Eureka said, according to CNN. "For those of us who believe in prayer, this is the time for that."
"He was a real caring person. Willing to help anybody at all times. The community is devastated. These kinds of things just don't happen here."
Local police announced today that they have identified Gary Lee Bullock of Redway, CA as a suspect and are currently seeking his arrest. Local residents have been told to also keep an eye out for Fr. Freed’s 2010 Nissan Hybrid which is missing and was presumably stolen by his murderer.
Is the attack a part of a larger resurgence of anti-Catholicism in the U.S.? It’s hard to tell. Last month, a teen in Pittsburgh was accused of assaulting and raping a nun. The Obama administration is requiring Catholic institutions and businesspeople to pay for contraception and sterilization procedures for their employees even though Catholic teaching condemns those things. And the ACLU is currently suing a Catholic hospital for not providing abortion services.