Lord, have mercy.
The Byzantine Rite Catholic priest Fr. Basil Hutsko (pictured above) was physically assaulted in the sacristy of St. Michael Byzantine Catholic Church in Merrillville, IN following the Divine Liturgy (Mass) recently.
The assailant choked him before slamming his head on the ground and yelled, “This is for all the kids!” – likely referencing the recent reports of the sexual abuse of minors in Pennsylvania. Fr. Hutsko was initially left unconscious from the attack and is now recovering in a local hospital.
It appears the attack was random, as Fr. Hutsko has not been accused of any crimes himself.
The Eparchy of Parma is part of the Ruthenian Greek Catholic Church, an Eastern Catholic Church in full communion with the Pope.
The Ruthenian Catholic Eparchy of Parma, of which the parish is a part, issued the following message to their clergy:
“Fr. Basil Hutsko was attacked and knocked unconscious this morning in the altar servers sacristy at his parish in Merrillville, Indiana after celebrating Liturgy. The attacker choked him and slammed his head to the ground. Fr. Basil lost consciousness. Before going unconscious Fr. Basil heard the attacker say, “This is for all the kids!” (reference to the clergy sex abuse coverage in the media.)
“All clergy are now targets and need to be vigilant. However it must also be clear that Fr. Hutsko was a random target. He is NOT guilty of any sex abuse.
“Fr. Hutsko is being examined in the hospital at this time.
“Fr. Thomas J. Loya”