Monday, June 16

The Arizona Republic site will give you the latest on Bishop O'Brien.

The latest lead story gives much more detail about what seems to have happened, including this:

Sgt. Lauri Williams, a police spokeswoman, said detectives traced the car to O'Brien on Sunday, but were unable to locate him or the Buick until Monday morning.

Emily of After Abortion sends along a link to an excellent Maggie Gallagher column about abortion and fathers.

I have to say that first thing this morning, when I blogged about bishops dominating the news this week, I never could have imagined it would come in this way at all.

There will undoubtedly be more to this story as it develops, but IMHO, the bishop's primary responsibility for this death is clear. Take a look at the windshield, after all.

As it stands at this moment (about 10:30 pm Monday night), the tragedy simply screams symbolism.

The week that the bishops of the United States are meeting to discuss, among other things, their response to the sexual abuse of children by clerics and the poicy that is supposed to correct their shocking treatment of victims and perpetrators over the past two decades (at least) and are discussing this issue behind closed doors, in private, without even press briefings to tell the rest of us what's going on - the very beginning of the week that this is to occur, one of their own is arrested and charged with leaving the scene of a fatal accident which he seems to have caused.

It's all there. Mortal harm is rendered. The one responsible hits - and runs, denying, in that very act of running, that he has any responsibility to the victim, for either his physical or spiritual life. He continues to run, keeping the harm he has caused a secret from authority, covering up a crime, going on with life as usual while the victim loses his life.

I am not drawing conclusions about character or drawing direct, connecting lines between this behavior and what has been revealed about the behavior of so many of our bishops towards sexual abuse victims.

But you can't deny this most powerful sign of the real and profound harm of personal irresponsibility and indifference to the preciousness of each individual life, created by and for God's love.

One would hope, that the bishops, being men who have studied theology and philosophy, are astute and sensitive to the power of signs, and might take this tragedy, not only as an opportunity to pray for this particular victim of an episcopal hit-and-run, but to reflect on their own individual and corporate acts of hitting, running, and hiding in silence while victims bleed.

One would hope.

Bishop O'Brien arrested

After more than four hours of questioning, Phoenix police this afternoon arrested Bishop Thomas O'Brien in the fatal hit-and-run of a pedestrian this weekend.

Shortly after 1:30 p.m., the bishop left in a plain-clothes police car. Police said he was under arrest and faces a count of leaving the scene of a fatal accident, a Class 4 felony. Before authorities could book him, O'Brien experienced high blood pressure and had to be transported from Madison Street Jail to St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center.

He's expected to be arraigned later Monday.

O'Brien is accused of hitting and killing a 43-year-old pedestrian as the man was jaywalking across Glendale Avenue near 19th Avenue, authorities said.

The pedestrian, Jim L. Reed, was pronounced dead at John C. Lincoln Hospital-North Mountain folowing the accident, which occurred about 8:35 p.m.

This just in and exceedingly weird...either a strange coincidence, a misinterpretation of events or something worse.

Warrant leads to Bishop O'Brien's home

Police investigating a fatal hit-and-run accident conducted a search Monday at the home of Bishop Thomas O'Brien, head of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix.

Police Sgt. Laurie Williams said police were investigating an accident on Saturday night in which a man was killed after being struck by two cars while crossing a street in the middle of a block. Both cars drove off.

Witnesses gave police a partial license plate number from the first car, which led investigators to the diocese, Williams said. The diocese later told police that it was O'Brien's car, Williams said.

"He does admit that he was driving the vehicle and in the area at the time," Williams said.

She said the bishop had told police he was returning home after a Mass on Saturday night.

Police had no information on the second car.

Officials with the diocese left O'Brien's home without commenting to reporters.

Update

As Paul, our man in AZ, points out in the comments, the latest report that the car had windshield and fender damage. More detail here, including the name of the victim and diocesan response..

All eyes will be on old bishops, new bishops and herds of bishops this week. This week "Catholic" will be defined in terms of bishops and their doings.

But....

As a body is one though it has many parts, and all the parts of the body, though many, are one body, so also Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, slaves or free persons, and we were all given to drink of one Spirit. Now the body is not a single part, but many. If a foot should say, "Because I am not a hand I do not belong to the body," it does not for this reason belong any less to the body. Or if an ear should say, "Because I am not an eye I do not belong to the body," it does not for this reason belong any less to the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole body were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? But as it is, God placed the parts, each one of them, in the body as he intended. If they were all one part, where would the body be? But as it is, there are many parts, yet one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, "I do not need you," nor again the head to the feet, "I do not need you." Indeed, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are all the more necessary, and those parts of the body that we consider less honorable we surround with greater honor, and our less presentable parts are treated with greater propriety, whereas our more presentable parts do not need this. But God has so constructed the body as to give greater honor to a part that is without it, so that there may be no division in the body, but that the parts may have the same concern for one another. If (one) part suffers, all the parts suffer with it; if one part is honored, all the parts share its joy.

1 Corinthians 12:12-26

Thanks to a reader for pointing out a story I missed in my travels:

>judicial nominee Bill Pryor's candid assessment of Roe v. Wade before the Judiciary Committee:

But history is full of tales of redemption. Perhaps that's why it is fitting that a white Attorney General from the state nominated himself to strike a major blow for a new civil rights movement on Wednesday, June 11, 2003. When Bill Pryor faced hostile questioning about Roe v. Wade from Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee, he was expected to do the dance perfected by scores of Republican judicial nominees answering similar questions. Even the adamantine Clarence Thomas resorted to the old shuck and jive when pressed on Roe during his confirmation hearings. Pryor chose a decidedly different strategy.

(umm...unfortunate choice of words there in that second the last sentence. Meant to be funny I suppose. It's not. Anyway.)

Having referred to Roe v. Wade as a constitutional abomination in the past, the nominee surely expected to be hard-pressed by the Bowery Boy Combo of Schumer and Kennedy. When Schumer asked whether Pryor stood by his previous comments about Roe, Pryor did something astonishing. He told the truth. "I do," he said simply. In later questioning, he went even further out on the limb to say, "[Roe] has led to the slaughter of millions of innocent unborn children."

Although he assured the committee of his commitment to upholding the current law (as a member of a lower court, he would be bound to do so anyway), Pryor's surprise performance marks a new day in the most important civil rights battle of the past thirty years, the right of unborn children to be recognized as Constitutional persons. Schumer said he appreciated Pryor's candor, perhaps believing the nominee was mortally wounding himself in an attempt to be honest. But that view would be a misreading of the situation. Pryor was not allowing himself to be crucified for the sake of refusing to tell a white lie or to hide the full implications of the truth. Instead, his answer represented the confidence of a man certain he is standing on the right side of history.


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