He kneels on stone

He kneels on stone

Speaking of Father Duesterhaus, the Marine chaplain mentioned in the previous blog entry, a friend sends along this recollection. Duesterhaus is a priest of the Diocese of Arlington, Virginia, and was pastor of Holy Spirit parish in Annandale a few years ago. Friends knew that he kept a pistol next to his bed. on his bed stand. One Sunday night, some kind of creep broke into the rectory, probably looking for money or stuff to sell to buy drugs, and got into the living quarters.

Duesterhaus awoke, grabbed his gun and shot wildly at the guy without, apparently, hitting him. Five of the six bullets were recovered. Only God knows where the sixth bullet went. Was the guy wounded?  No blood. In any case, the bad guy got away. The police came to investigate and from that day on Father Duesterhaus was known as “Father Dust-His-Ass.” G. Gordon Liddy reported the news on his radio show and Holy Spirit received about $3,000 in unsolicited donations.

I bet Duesterhaus kneels on stone. I’d love to be a parishioner in his parish I bet. I’d also bet there’s no liturgical hanky-panky in his Masses. Just a thought.

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  • As a current parishioner of Holy Spirit Parish, I can assure you there is still no liturgical hanky-panky. This parish has long been blessed with strong courageous faithful orthodox priests. When we first moved here, one of the parochial vicars was a former Marine. His movements around the altar were so reverent and so precise it reminded one of the Marines guarding the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. It was inspiring.

  • He may be a good man in many ways but he clearly doesn’t understand the law about use of deadly force, nor apparently how to use deadly force when it’s permitted.

  • On the contrary RPBurke.  To the law, your home is your castle. It is your place of last retreat. You are not required to retreat from a threat in your home. When defending your home against a burglary, authorities rarely question the use of force,even deadly force. If you believe a burglar is a serious physical threat to you or your family, the law allows you to use whatever force you feel is necessary to neutralize the threat. 
    The fact that Fr D was unable to hit his target may be attributed to the speed with which the intruder left the premises.  And Fr D. was never charged which speaks volumes about the legality of his actions.  As far as the morality or ethics involved in this goes I would feel no compunction about using my .357 on an intruder in my home.  I’ll take my chances with a jury of my peers rather than see my wife or children lying in a casket.
    I actually served with Fr D (as well as with Fr Shaughnessy)with the 3rd Marine Division and he was the interim pastor at St Wm of York in Stafford, Va.  He is a superb priest, chaplain and liturgist.  There was no liturgical chicanery while he was there.  He was anticipating that the indult would someday be more liberalized under the current bishop of Arlington and was preparing himself and his parish for the transition.  This zeal for orthodoxy, the latinization of the Novus Ordo as well as his his vocal opposition to female altar servers was perhaps his undoing in the Arlington diocese.  The bishops treatment of Fr D was less than meritorious.  To Fr Ds credit I also witnessed people leaving the Mass during his pro-family (anti-homosexual) and prolife homilies.  Fr D realized that he was not earning any brownie points with the bishop and was prepared to go back to the Navy.  He was missed at St Wm of York but he is truly in his element now with the Marines.  His younger brother is also a Marine officer so pray for him as well.
    semper fi!

  • Never go to Confession to a priest that you would not go down a dark alley with in his prime. Makes all of the difference in the world. My kind of Padre.

  • Dear RP Burke,

    I might agree with you, depending on the meaning of these words in the story: “… grabbed his gun and shot wildly at the guy …”.

    If those words mean that Fr. D shouted out a warning, saw the intruder approaching, felt in danger, took aim, but missed, then what he did was permissible.  But if those words mean that Fr. D just wildly shot in the dark without giving a warning and without really seeing/hearing an actual figure approaching, then he may have acted negligently.

    I find it hard to believe that the second thing happened, unless Fr. D was only half-awake, in a panic, and unable to reason things through.

    Dear Catholic Mom and Abe,
    It’s kind of amazing to read these comments and find people who knew Fr. D from Holy Spirit and St. William parishes, because he was a parochial vicar at my former parish (St. Michael, Annandale) in the mid-1990s.  Small world. 

    I too recall Fr. D as being very reverent and careful to obey liturgical laws, but I especially recall his being an outstanding homilist.

    Catholic Mom, one thing you wrote surprised me.  You stated: “This parish [Holy Spirit] has long been blessed with strong courageous faithful orthodox priests.”  As you can imagine, as a parishioner at St. Michael from 1994-2004, I would sometimes come over to Holy Spirit to attend Mass, due to scheduling conflicts.  I remember Fr. Pokorsky as one of the “stong, courageous, faithful, orthodox priests” that you mentioned.  However, I also remember one priest (a pastor, Fr/Msgr Reidy [?]) who was just horrendous in his habits of breaking the liturgical law, repeatedly throughout the Mass.  He really shocked and disgusted me.  I hope that he is retired now.


  • AnUnSi,

    The priest of whom you speak is retired. He did not always have the energy or moving homilies I would have liked but his liturgical shortcomings were modest compared to what I saw in the Diocese of Richmond just south of here. So I guess in comparison, it was a step up. The current threesome of priests we now have are incredible. I couldn’t ask for better!

  • Seamus-this is really deviating from the original thread but I’m not sure what you’re saying here.
    The bottom line is that as a Catholic if I subjectively believe that my life or the life of those for whom I am responsible to protect is in grave danger I may use whatever force is necessary to stop the threat.  My first goal is to stop the threat in this case with a non-lethal shot to the leg, arm, shoulder, etc but if that does not work my next shot(s) may be intentionally lethal such as a shot to the head or chest.
    I seriously doubt there is an objective criteria that one may apply when confronted with an attacker.  As much as I dislike using “feelings” If I ‘feel” threatened that’s all that matters to me and if I ‘feel” like shooting him is going to better protect me and my family vice a “can we talk about this over a bowl of late night ice cream” I’m shooting him and my conscience will be clear.