Radicalized Catholic Becomes Priest
San Diego County Sheriff’s Department officials arrested a “middle-aged Caucasian man” after he allegedly attempted to bless a large group of people in public late Sunday evening.
Fr. Richard Whitaker of San Diego was arrested on suspicion of attempted blessing, sheriff sergeant Roger Burgess told EOTT, and deputies are now confirming that the 31-year-old man had traveled to Rome years prior to becoming a priest.
“A Bible and other items were located inside the suspect’s residence, leading investigators to believe Whitaker may have been a radicalized Catholic,” Burgess said at a press conference earlier today. “Among other things found in his apartment was an arsenal of sacramentals, a Vatican flag, as well as a copy of The Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, suggesting that Fr. Whitaker may also have been lazy.
Authorities began surveillance of Whitaker’s rectory shortly after the public blessing, and Whitaker was taken into custody when he returned to his apartment shortly after morning Mass.
A cousin of Whitaker, Donald Powell, told EOTT that his cousin began acting odd after returning from a pilgrimage to Rome.
“He just seemed different when he got back,” Powell said. “He began to frequent churches for Holy Hour and visiting monasteries and stuff. All weird, zealot kinda stuff. Within a year of returning he had entered seminary.”
Powell admitted that he may have missed signs that his cousin was being radicalized, pointing out that he had once found what looked to be “bits and pieces” of human remains held in reliquaries in his Whitaker’s bedroom.