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  1. #1
    Andrewtx's Avatar
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    Thumbs down Priest at funeral for slain officer pleads for gun control

    Priest at funeral for slain officer pleads for gun control


    Associated Press
    PHILADELPHIA - A pastor pleaded for tighter gun laws at the funeral Mass for a police officer killed in a brazen bar robbery.

    "Enough grief, enough dead heroes, enough widows, enough fatherless children," Monsignor Francis S. Feret said Friday at St. Adalbert's Roman Catholic Church. "When do we - families and citizens - become more important to each other than an individual's right to have a gun?"

    Feret, preaching to hundreds of police officers, grieving family members and classmates of the officer's children, also spoke of the need for forgiveness - a response some said would be difficult to summon.

    Officer Gary Skerski, 46, was fatally shot Monday night while responding to a robbery at a North Philadelphia bar. Police continue to search for the gunman, who had ordered bar patrons to surrender their cash and jewelry, and then fired a shotgun blast out the back door as police approached.

    Skerski, who was struck in the neck, was the first Philadelphia police officer in a decade to be slain in the line of duty.

    More than 1,000 mourners filled the ornate church in the city's Port Richmond neighborhood, a Polish enclave that boasts soaring churches, well-kept row homes and Polish restaurants and bakeries.

    Skerski's son, Robert - a 13-year-old who attends the parish school with his 10-year-old sister, Nicole - wiped away tears as he followed his father's casket down the church steps. His widow, Anne, pulled her children toward her and huddled with a priest for support.

    "I'm glad he said what he did about the guns," family friend Marie Hoyt said of Feret's homily. "This was so senseless."

    More than a dozen priests helped officiate the Mass, including Cardinal Justin Rigali, archbishop of Philadelphia.

    Mayor John F. Street, who was among the dignitaries on hand, criticized state gun laws for being lax. Guns are too easily obtained and owners in Pennsylvania do not have to report them lost or stolen, he said.

    Skerski's death comes as the city grapples with a seeming barrage of gun violence. The city tallied 380 homicides last year, the vast majority of them by guns.

    "I just think this is a whole series of events that should lead a reasonable person to conclude that we should do something about the proliferation of guns," Street said.

    Skerski, a 16-year veteran, was widely known through his work in community relations. He typically worked days, but was working overtime on Monday when a hushed 911 call came in from a terrified bar customer.

    Skerski also coached his children's sports teams and organized an annual toy drive, friends said.

    "I just don't understand it" said Gerry Fagan, who works at a deli on the street where the family lives. "It's just so unfair."

  2. #2
    nitestokker's Avatar
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    If I was that guy's family, I would be PISSED at the priest. It's his job at a funeral to honor the deceased, not make a political speech. Sounds like he's running for office! Peace to the officer's soul and his family.

  3. #3
    Operator13's Avatar
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    IMHO this was not the time or place for a gun control speach.

    Criminals aren't going to care if guns are legal or not.

    As far as speaking about forgiveness, sorry Monsignor, it's not my job to forgive.

    Rest in peace Officer Skerski.
    "The statements and opinions contained in this communication do not necessarily reflect the official position of the Commission regarding these issues."



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