Priest Posts Lengthy Response to Reports Church Vandal Committed Suicide

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Linda Howard, Pike County Sheriff's Office / Inside St. Clement Catholic Church, Bill Peckman

The priest of the church that was desecrated in July posted a long response on Facebook to reports the vandal had committed suicide.

“It has been a hard day. It has been a day of ‘what if’ and ‘if only,'” Fr. Bill Peckman, pastor of St. Clement Catholic Church, wrote on Facebook.

“I can’t but believe that God will make much good out of this entire tragedy,” part of the statement read (the full statement can be found at the end of this article). “I said back when this first happened that I wanted this to be a moment of great evangelization. Nothing speaks more clearly of evangelization than mercy, the mercy especially expressed by the cross. We did that.

“Let’s finish the task and pray for Ms. Howard and her family…and continue to reach out actively for the lost sheep.”

In July, St. Clement Catholic Church in Bowling Green, MO suffered a terrible vandalism attack that included human feces being smeared on the Bible, sacred vessels, and even on the Blessed Sacrament in the tabernacle. A police investigation quickly led to 54-year-old Linda Howard, who admitted to having perpetrated the attack.

Howard was found dead in her apartment on Monday, August 22nd in an apparent suicide.

Here’s Fr. Peckman’s full message:

“It has been a hard day. It has been a day of ‘what if’ and ‘if only’. I think to the recent gifts given to the parish of the icons of St Mary Magdalene and St Michael the Archangel and the premium we as Catholics put on forgiveness and mercy while understanding that spiritual warfare is all too real.

“As I offer my rosary tonight for Ms. Howard and pray for her and her family it occurred to me that there is much to learn and those lessons will take some time to unpack. Our parish has been through a trauma and bore powerful witness to the Gospel values preached week in and week out. We walked on water during the storm by keeping our eyes fixed on Christ.

“I am proud of this parish. We did what was right. Things did not turn out as we hoped, but we gave powerful witness. I hope that many from the area who are looking to find a church more interested in binding the wounds of sin, neither ignoring them nor berating them, will think about looking at the Catholic faith. We’re not perfect nor are we looking for the perfect, we are looking for those who want to turn from sin and turn to God…who want to walk with us as we make forward movement on our pilgrim way.

“I can’t but believe that God will make much good out of this entire tragedy. I said back when this first happened that I wanted this to be a moment of great evangelization. Nothing speaks more clearly of evangelization than mercy, the mercy especially expressed by the cross. We did that. Let’s finish the task and pray for Ms. Howard and her family…and continue to reach out actively for the lost
sheep.”

Please pray for Linda Howard and her family.

[See also: Woman Who Desecrated Church Found Dead in Apparent Suicide]

[See also: Church Desecration Was Demonic Retaliation, Priest Suspects]

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