Is nothing sacred?

October 15, 2003

IT WILL BE HARD to forgive the man who held a gun to a woman's head, slapped a priest and stole the Sunday collections at the Shrine of the Little Flower Roman Catholic Church in Northeast Baltimore on Monday morning.

He lied to the woman who answered his knock on the door, telling her he wanted to make a donation. He threatened her with harm, and did harm to the Rev. Michael J. Orchik, who wasn't fast enough in recalling the combination to open the safe. He stole cash and checks for purposes likely bad that hundreds of parishioners intended be used for good.

Such callous disrespect takes one's breath away. It's bad enough that a breed of thug considers houses of worship easy marks for theft, but to brazenly threaten the people within is a new twist that ought never be repeated.

Many churches have alarm systems, and most keep their doors locked, sadly closing off a portal to casual communion with a higher authority. One must trust they can continue to offer sanctuary -- and forgiveness -- without needing their own armed guards.

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