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Tragic news: FSSP priest killed, another badly injured – UPDATED (again) (and again) June 12, 2014

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, Dallas Diocese, disaster, Four Last Things, General Catholic, horror, Latin Mass, manhood, sadness, scandals, secularism, shocking, sickness, Society, unadulterated evil.

It’s not really a tragedy, it’s an atrocity.  What kind of world do we live in when completely innocent priests are killed, ostensibly for filthy lucre?

Fr. Kenneth Walker, FSSP, was shot to death last night at shortly after 9pm PDT at Mater Misericordia FSSP mission in Phoenix. The pastor, Fr. Joseph Terra, was badly injured and is in critical condition [UPDATE: apparently, as the result of blunt force trauma].  Fr. Terra had called 911 to report a burglary in progress.  Seems kind of an early time for a burglary.

Details below:

A 28-year-old priest was shot and killed and another wounded at a Catholic church Wednesday night near the state Capitol, a Phoenix police spokesman said.

Police were responding to a burglary call shortly after 9 p.m. near 16th Avenue and Monroe Street at the Mater Misericordiae (Mother of Mercy) Mission, Sgt. Steve Martos said.

The Diocese of Phoenix released a statement early Thursday morning identifying the slain priest as Father Kenneth Walker, who is listed as associate pastor at the Mother of Mercy Mission.

Father Joseph Terra, the pastor, was identified as the priest who survived but remained in critical but stable condition, according to the statement.

“We are stunned and deeply saddened to learn of the tragic assault perpetrated last night against Fr. Joseph Terra and Fr. Kenneth Walker, two religious

order priests who belong to the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter,” the statement said.

Police said early Thursday morning that Terra, 56, was “physically harmed” but not stabbed or shot.

Terra called 911, police said.

A car that police were seeking in connection with the attack was found at 17th Avenue and Taylor Street, about four blocks north of the church, Martos said. It was spotted by 12 News reporter Chris Williams, who alerted police.

The car was unoccupied when it was found, and Martos said no suspects have been arrested.

Father Terra is well known to parishioners at Mater Dei, as he was pastor there for several years.  I met him once very briefly.  He was just on his way out to Phoenix. This was just a couple months before we started attending Mater Dei full time.  Apparently, Fr. Terra has been conscious and has been able to make a statement to the Phoenix PD.

I have never met Father Walker. He was ordained only two years ago.  He just fit that wonderful mold for young FSSP priests, clean cut, fit, intelligent, deeply committed to Christ and His Church, loving the Mass and with a burning desire to serve souls.  His death is simply staggering.

My God, have mercy on Father Walker’s family.  From the realization of exalted hopes and dreams to this.

I pray for the conversion of the perpetrators.  I pray they bring themselves forward and admit to this stupid and noxious crime.  Stupid, because priests are not widely known for their terrific wealth.

And I pray especially for the repose of the soul of Fr. Walker, cut down in the prime of life, and the quick healing of Fr. Terra, who struck me as a pretty tough guy.

Fr. Terra with Fr. Walker at rear

Fr. Terra with Fr. Walker at rear

Fr. Walker, center

Fr. Walker, center



UPDATE: The Diocese of Phoenix, led by Bishop Thomas Olmstead, has issued a statement regarding the murder of Fr. Walker:



Fr. Kenneth Walker, FSSP was born in Upstate New York near Poughkeepsie, the middle of 11 children (6 boys and 5 girls). His family moved frequently when he was young.
While his father was working construction in Wilmington, N.C, the family decided to build, with their own hands, a log cabin on some land they  owned in nearby Tennessee. Their intention was to sell the home, but they changed their minds and moved in.
While living there, they visited a used bookstore and found a book called The Incredible Catholic Mass. It described the Tridentine Mass, which they had never seen nor heard. The book was considered worthless and the storeowner gave it to them for free.
The family was intrigued. The more they learned about the Traditional Mass, the more they wanted it in their daily lives. On his own initiative, Fr. Walker began learning Latin. The family decided to sell their log cabin and move to rural Pennsylvania near Scranton where the Traditional Mass was offered. Fr. Walker eventually became an altar server at the FSSP Apostolate, and after attending Our Lady, Seat of Wisdom Academy in Ontario, entered the seminary.
He was ordained to the Sacred Priesthood in 2012.
I really love the bit from Psalm 109 at the top.  Requiescat in Pace, Fr. Walker.


Video coverage:

In a CNN report, the Phoenix PD is not saying the crime was actually a burglary.  Fr. Terra called 911 thinking it was a burglary, but if you read between the lines at CNN I think the Phoenix PD is thinking it may have been something else.

You know……that parish was in a terrible part of town.  Traditional Latin Mass parishes often are.  That’s not to say there are not NO parishes in bad parts of town, but TLM parishes attract a lot of outsiders who are from a different socioeconomic strata. That can create an inviting target to lost, desperate souls.  Sometimes TLMers wonder why it seems their parishes are so often consigned to bad or questionable parts of town.  Now that there has been a horrific tragedy, will that trend see a change?


Phoenix ABC station reporting this may not have been a burglary but could have been a targeted crime.  Fr. Terra was extremely pro-life and very outspoken, and there has been heavy pressure on the mills in Phoenix via Live Action and other sources. That is entirely speculation on my part, but I have to say the thought has crossed my mind that this could have been perpetrated by a radical pro-abort or other extreme leftist:

This report really adds a lot of detail.  It is possible now to understand perhaps the course of events which took place.

UPDATE 4: Blech, I hate when news sites use proprietary embed codes. I tried to embed a video from a Phoenix news site and it failed.  I lost some text in the process.  Probably Providence!



1. discipleofthedumbox - June 12, 2014

Lord, have mercy!

My beloved spouse and I met Fr. Terra at a homeschooling conference a number of years ago. I pray for his rapid recovery as well as for healing in Father Walker’s family. May his soul rest in God’s eternal peace.

2. anna - June 12, 2014

ABC15 reporter Christopher Sign reports on twitter that when police arrived Fr. Terra was found praying over Fr. Walker giving him the Last Rites.
I can’t get that picture out of my mind.

Tantumblogo - June 12, 2014

Where do we find such men? Such a selfless act is such a clear sign of cooperation with Grace.

Thank you so much for sharing that.

Pseudodionysius - June 12, 2014

I find a particular consolation in that image anna, thank you. I prayed the Chaplet of the Holy Face for both men this morning. I encourage others to do the same if they are so inclined.

3. susan - June 12, 2014

This made me weep. We can ill afford to lose warriors such as this. Eternal rest grant unto him O Lord.

4. susan - June 12, 2014

This made me weep.. We can ill afford to lose a warrior such as this. Eternal rest grant unto him O Lord.

5. Update on Phoenix priest assault | A Blog for Dallas Area Catholics - June 12, 2014

[…] who receive posts via e-mail, or who have otherwise not seen, I have very substantially updated the post on the atrocity committed against FSSP priests last night in Phoenix.  Many more details have been […]

6. Rorate Caeli (@RorateCaeli) - June 12, 2014

That is not the diocese’s statement, those are our words in his honor. We really shouldn’t speculate much right now, let us pray.


Tantumblogo - June 12, 2014

Sorry I got that in an e-mail sent to me. It wasn’t clear.

As for the speculation, you have your way, I have mine. Some people might appreciate the latest updates. I am merely repeating press reports. This is public information.

As an aside, I can’t recall ever telling you how to run your blog, yet you have seen fit now on several occasions to tell me how to run mine. Thank you, I am obviously very frail and fallen, I can use all the help I can get.

Woody - June 12, 2014

Stop it.

Tantumblogo - June 12, 2014

I’m too dense right now. I don’t know what you want me to stop.

7. Fr Anselm Marie - June 12, 2014

I have never met Father Walker, but Father Terra is a longtime friend. We met in northern California, introduced by Father Patrick Perez, who I believe had been a classmate of his at Saint Patrick’s Seminary in Thurles, Ireland.

Ordained for the diocese of Sacramento, Father Terra occasionally offered the Traditional Mass at Saint Margaret Mary’s in Oakland. It was there that I got to know him, as we worked together confecting traditional vestments, something Father did with skill.

Eventually Father Terra joined the FSSP, and, as you mention, was assigned to the Mater Dei Latin Mass Community in Dallas for several years.

Like all of us, Father Terra has sacrificed and suffered much to be a priest faithful to Christ and to His Holy Church. Thank you for praying for him, for the repose of the soul of Father Walker, and for the souls entrusted to their care.

Tantumblogo - June 12, 2014

Thank you, Father! I wish I had gotten to know both men better. We only ran into Fr. Terra outside abortion mills as we weren’t assisting at the glorious Mass at that time. My wife met him many more times than I did. It seems he’s really badly hurt, but his condition is improving. I saw a news report that I couldn’t embed that said the hospital staff was amazed he was able to talk and function after the injuries he sustained. I don’t know about the Last Rites the other commenter mentioned, that is unconfirmed, but all reports certainly seem to testify to his strength.

God have mercy on all involved.

8. TG - June 12, 2014

I will pray for the repose of the soul of Father Walker and pray for Father Terra’s recovery.

9. Heather - June 12, 2014

From Twitter:

Christopher Sign ‏@ChristopherSign 2h
Sources tell me the scene is “gruesome” where 2 #PHX priests attacked. 1 killed (shot), 1 critical (beaten) @abc15

Pseudodionysius - June 12, 2014

Prayers to Our Lady and St Michael the Archangel are in order.

Tantumblogo - June 12, 2014

Yes, I have seen similar reports. Fr. Terra’s injuries are very severe. God bless him.

10. Pseudodionysius - June 12, 2014
David - June 12, 2014

The national Fox News (channel 41 in Dallas on Time Warner) mentioned this incident. Heather Nauert, the news reader on Fox and Friends, did not release the names during the 0700 hour this morning, but she did mention that this looked like a deliberate attack.

Please pray for these priests. I met Fr. Terra on a few occasions when I attended Mass at Mater Dei or went to some other Catholic events locally.

11. Luis - June 12, 2014

As to the motive, I can imagine that if someone had been planning a burglary, he would have taken the trouble to find out if there had been some money in the place before barging in, particularly in a pro-gun state like Arizona. You just don’t barge into a place like that (unless we’re dealing with some real morons – who knows?) Really, think about it. Why would someone burglarize a rectory? Just to put myself in a criminal’s shoes, I cannot imagine someone taking a firearm into a residence without the intent of doing some damage. Can you? Maybe I am just reading too much into this.

12. Pseudodionysius - June 12, 2014

The ABC affiliate reported on air, live, that experienced detectives found the crime scene gruesome enough that it was “hard to look at” when they first entered.

13. John - June 12, 2014

Truly disturbing and yes we should all pray for the repose of father’s soul, addition for his family and all those who are personally affected.

Here is one that’s quite difficult. ..
The person (s) who committed this sickening act surely need prayers also. The murder was obviously committed by someone under some serious diabolical oppression. .. maybe even full-on possesion.
May almighty God have mercy on that person’s soul

Pseudodionysius - June 12, 2014


Tantumblogo - June 12, 2014

It’s all very strange. Some signs point to random robbery, but the savagery of the crime points to a crime of passion. We shall see.

On the plus side, millions of people are finding out about traditional priests and their great virtue. Even the media seems surprised at how loved these men were, and their great charity.

Baseballmom - June 12, 2014

Yes, God can bring good out of the most awful of situations… I met Fr. Terra over 20 years ago…. Referred to himself as going from “teamster to seamster” because of his talent in sewing Traditional vestments. Praying for his full recovery.

Fr Stevenson - June 13, 2014

Amen Baseballmom! I just want to say that Fr Terra is an exceptional priest, a good friend, and a Spiritually tough man. May Our Lord grant him speedy recovery! Amen!

Baseballmom - June 13, 2014

Tantum, I know we are not to speculate. However, everything I have read leads me to one conclusion. A crime of passion. Now, I have a very good friend who was a forensic pathologist in the Bay Area. He unfortunately did dozens of autopsies on victims of these types of very violent, ugly crimes. They were members if a a certain type of “community” very prevalent in the Bay Area. It is highly possible that Fathers Walker and Terra spoke truthfully about the sins of this community. When these folks get angry enough to kill, they kill very violently. I have said enough.

14. Heather - June 12, 2014

From CNN:


Walker, 29, was a member of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter, a small community of priests founded in 1988 and dedicated to reviving the traditional Latin Mass. Terra, 56, is also a member.

Kim - June 12, 2014

Ok I’ll just say out loud what a few of you, whether you admit it or deny it, are thinking. Vatican assassins. I read the forensics report on JP1 and as an R. N. it was obvious to me there was a big coverup. It’s clear to me a lowly Novus Ordo rat, that the TLM is anathema to the current pontificate. Remember the 2 priests that were captured in Argentina under Bishop B? Maybe he’s moved on to bigger badder crimes. But maybe the culprits will be found—daytime burglaries do happen. Will understand if you don’t want to post this, Mr. Ergo.

Heather - June 13, 2014

That thought hadn’t even entered my mind. My first thought was that the church grows with the blood of martyrs, and who should happen to be chosen by God to be a martyr, but a traditional priest from a lowly mission in a bad neighborhood. He (God) didn’t choose a nun on the bus or Father Fabulous with the rainbow chasuble. Maybe I’m just trying to sugar coat a horrific tragedy. But as I posted above, even CNN has mentioned by name the Traditional Latin Mass. They can’t ignore it now.

Tantumblogo - June 13, 2014

Supposed to be funny? Not very. In fact, quite unbecoming whoever you are. And also non sequitur. This is not a sede vacantist site, and sede vacantism has nothing to do with the FSSP. Not sure why you feel the need to malign people suffering right now.

PHX press and PD have both stated that if this was a burglary gone wrong, its the most vicious one they’ve ever seen. 20 year homicide detectives were shocked by the scene. A lot of hints being dropped this may have been something different. Home invasions are an extreme rarity in burglaries, and especially at that early hour. Most people are awake and around at 9pm. Burglars generally try to avoid anyone being home. Most home invasions are related in one way or another to the drug trade, and that’s obviously out of the question here. It could be a burglary (and the stolen ride sort of seems to indicate that) but many other signs point in another direction. As I said, id it turns out it was just a common burglary it was a very rare and stupid one.

None of which has anything to do with the Vatican, and if this was an attempt at mockery, it could not have been done in poorer taste. It frankly doesnt deserve the response I’ve given it.

First and final warning. Don’t do it again.

Kim - June 14, 2014

An attempt to be funny? Are you kidding me?! And I closed the post with “I understand if you don’t to post this.” It’s your blog, Mr Ergo—you should have deleted it. And it might be a good time for a lot of the readers here to consider reading a few Fr. Malachy Martin interview books. He was a former Jesuit priest, Latin Mass advocate,Vatican exorcist and assistant to Cardinal Bea.

I’m not a sedevacantist though I understand after reading all arguments how one can come to that conclusion . I also understand how some choose to reject Vatican 2 and view it as a heretical document.

Still I remain in a respectful Novus Ordo parish with occasional visits to both FSSP and SSPX chapels.

I am a convert from the S. Baptist faith and I take the one, holy, catholic and apostolic thing seriously.
Nonetheless I totally accept that bishops and popes can become corrupt, even heretics.

Tantumblogo - June 16, 2014

Problem of the internet, it is easy to misinterpret comments. Maybe I read it the wrong way, but I was not alone.

As for the attacker, a suspect has been named, a man with a long criminal history who was recently released from prison. No motive ID’d as of yet.

15. mark docherty - June 13, 2014
Baseballmom - June 14, 2014

Did it. Thank you so much for posting this.

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