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Monsignor treated shamefully at wreck

Editor: Consider if you will the following. A man of the cloth returning from administering to a sick person happens upon the scene of an accident at approximately 10 p.m. Coincidence? Perhaps. Then being told, "There's no room for you here," when he tried to offer prayer and comfort to the injured.

Sound incredible? It happened July 20.

Monsignor Scully, pastor of St. Theresa Catholic Church in Spring Hill, was returning from an errand when he came upon an accident at the intersection of Spring Hill Drive and U.S. 19.

He pulled over, parked his car and approached the scene. He then asked a woman, the injured's mother, if they were Catholic. When she said they were, he received her permission to offer prayers and comfort to the injured.

As he attempted to approach the injured he was rudely pulled away by one of our public servants. A sheriff's deputy grabbed the back of the monsignor's belt, almost causing another accident, and shouting, "There's no room for you here."

I was not at the scene. I and many of St. Theresa's parishioners heard the monsignor recount the sad, unholy, occurrence at Sunday's Mass.

This is by no means the first such incident. It happened before. One evening after Mass, a parishioner leaving the church was involved in an accident nearby. Again the clergy summoned to the scene were shamelessly and rudely shoved away, this time by a firefighter.

These ignorant and shameful persons don't know or care that prayers, as attested to by many in the medical profession, have a place at the injured's side.

Michael Ricciardella

Spring Hill

Editor: The headline might have read "Priest manhandled by sheriff's deputy as he attempts to reach accident victim." And the story could have begun "Monsignor John Scully denied access to injured man by shouting emergency personnel."

Monsignor Scully came upon an automobile accident at U.S. 19 and Spring Hill Drive as he was returning to St. Theresa's Catholic Church Saturday night after visiting a very ill parishioner. At the accident scene, he responded to the mother's wish that her son receive communion before the medical helicopter arrived to transport him to a hospital.

Without warning, the deputy grabbed Monsignor's Scully's belt just as he accessed the high step of the ambulance; our pastor narrowly missed a nasty fall.

"There's no room in here," the attendants cried out.

As Monsignor Scully recounted this sorry tale from the pulpit Sunday morning, I became progressively saddened and sickened by the outrageous behavior, the lack of civility and absence of respect for a man of God and the benefit of spiritual aid and comfort, by the deputy and emergency personnel.

Mary Aiken

Spring Hill

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