Priest Tells Mourners to Take Casket, 'Get the Hell Out'

Incident occurred last Wednesday at St. Mary’s Church in Maryland
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 4, 2018 11:30 AM CDT
Family: Priest Yelled at Us to Take Casket, Leave Church
A stock photo of a casket.   (Getty Images/kzenon)

Mourners showed up at a DC-area Catholic Church last Wednesday to pay their final respects to Agnes Hicks—and ended up being told to "get the hell out of my church." The Washington Post reports on the "disturbing scene" captured on video at St. Mary’s Church in Charlotte Hall. The dust-up took place between Rev. Michael Briese and a group standing near Hicks' open casket. In a letter, Briese explained that before the funeral Mass began, "one of the guests in the church damaged a sacred chalice." He described it as an accident, but one that "made my frustration boil over ... I uttered words I never use, and treated people I have lived with and committed my life to serve in an unacceptable manner. ... I am profoundly sorry."

Family members say the cup was knocked over by an attendee who reached to hug another, and that Briese subsequently announced there would be no funeral, told them to get this "thing" (referring to Hicks) out of the church, and then called police, per WTTG. It reports officers escorted the family to another location in the county where the funeral service later occurred. Briese was on Tuesday placed on leave as the Archdiocese of Washington probes what it calls "a serious misunderstanding" in a letter. "What occurred at Saint Mary's Parish ... does not reflect the Catholic Church's fundamental calling to respect and uplift the God-given dignity of every person," it continued. (This funeral took a deadly turn.)

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