“We are now standing in the face of the greatest historical confrontation humanity has gone through. I do not think that wide circles of the American society or wide circles of the Christian community realize this fully. We are now facing the final confrontation between the Church and the anti-Church, of the Gospel and the anti-Gospel. This confrontation lies within the plans of divine providence. It is a trial which the whole Church… must take up.” Karol Cardinal Wotyla (Sept. 1976)

Monday, July 7, 2008

UCF Webster Cook in Way Over His Head

VCR Friend, Bill Donohue and the Catholic League now is monitoring this story:


"To protest student fees for religious services at the University of Central Florida (UCF), a student walked out of a campus Mass on June 29 with the Eucharist. Webster Cook, a student senator, finally returned the Host this past weekend.

Catholic League president Bill Donohue offered the following remarks today:
“For a student to disrupt Mass by taking the Body of Christ hostage—regardless of the alleged nature of his grievance—is beyond hate speech. That is why the UCF administration needs to act swiftly and decisively in seeing that justice is done. All options should be on the table, including expulsion.”

Contact UCF president John C. Hitt at jhitt@mail.ucf.edu "

The Catholic League has brought Fortune 100 companies to their knees. Webster won't last make it through this unscathed. It is a shame he did not give a sincerely apology when he had the chance. As my previous post showed he is still an arrogant fool impressed with himself. A contrite apology would have been accepted by Catholics and he viewed as a young person who made a bad mistake. It would have saved his enrollment at UCF.


Brian W. Cook, MD said...

You should be more diligent in your understanding of facts before making such hostile statements about another person. My family respects the freedom of all to worship as they see fit. Someone who publicly claims to "bring Fortune 100 companies to their knees" should examine their own arrogance, rather than casting aspersions on teenagers. Your hostility and thirt for vengence is quite unchristian.
I'll bet that you are too arrogant to risk posting this comment as well?!
Brian W. Cook, MD, FACEP
Father of Webster Cook

A Voice in the Crowd said...

With all respect Dr. Cook, your son does not respect others rights to practice religion freely. His actions cancel your opinion.

In his first excuse to justify his actions, he was desecrating the Eucharist to protest public funds, then his second excuse had him doing it to show a friend, then he was doing it because an elderly Eucharistic minister roughed him up. He was lying all over the map.

His apology yesterday was all about him. I am the victim; I am a good guy who doesn’t want to hurt innocent people.

How about an apology I desecrated something holy and it is 100% my fault? That is what is deserved by his offense. That is what you should work with your son, that it the right thing to do and the right thing to teach him.

Let me ask you, if Webster desecrated a Star of David, would you be posting he respects others religion?

The Catholic League protects Catholics from bigotry and anti-Catholic actions. You are blaming the Catholic League in the same spirit like you son blames everyone else but himself. The Catholic League did not pick your son’s name out of a phone book; it was based on his desecration of the Eucharist, his sole action.

I know a holy priest that if he drops the Eucharist, gets down on his 70-year old knees and licks the floor where it drop to make sure none of Christ is not left on the floor.

Please come to the realization of what your son did.

Connect the Dots said...

The apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

Anonymous said...

I teach at UCF, and I go to Mass at the ministry center just off campus.

OK, this student is not a Catholic. Fine. But even by the ordinary rules of courtesy, he ought to have known something like this is impolite at the minimum. His parents maybe did not raise him with much common everyday courtesy.

If he was present while others prayed and reverently received communion, and he did not realize he was being disrespectful to another person's religious practice, means he was fairly oblivious. Not a very sharp observer.

When someone tried to prevent him from carrying the host out of the room, he ought to have caught on that he was actually doing something seriously wrong. But he failed to catch on.

So no matter what old man he seems to have been roughed up by, he ought never to have been in that position in the first place.

Sorry, Dr. Cook, whatever your son's political intention was, it does not justify gross disrespect.

Leticia said...

Dr Webster, I agree with Voice; even receiving the Holy Eucharist is a breathtaking insult to Our Lord Jesus Christ, but to take it out of the church for whichever of the three reasons Webster gave is beyond the pale.
To enter a house of worship in order to abuse the congregation's religious customs to make a point, no matter how noble, is unconscionable, and a sincere, heartfelt apology is in order.
Dr Donohue and we, as fellow Catholics, demand such as the very least your son could do. We speak not only for ourselves, but for Our Lord whose Body and Blood was mocked by Webster's action.

He may be young and impulsive, but it's time you, as his father taught him an attitude of respect for the right of others to their free exercise of religion. You can spare yourself a trip to my blog, Causa Nostrae Laetitiae, I have already posted the Catholic Leagues' statement and sent my email to UCF's President in protest of his failure to act on behalf of the Catholic students there. If my daughter were a student at UCF, this would have been her last semester.

Brian W. Cook, MD said...

I would like to thank you for including my post in your blog. The dialog is worthwhile. I am confused as to why Webster's receiving the Eucharist is a breathtaking insult. He was raised Catholic and received his First Holy Communion, as did my other two children. There are church documents to confirm this.

I would agree with most of what has been said against Webster if he had premeditated the removal of the host from the church. That simply is not the case. Even so, I have told him that two wrongs do not make a right. He should not have compounded an inappropriate handling (physical force without calm reasoning) of a situation by walking out with the Holy Eucharist. I am positive that he would handle that situation differently if he had it to do again. He did not set out to make a mockery of your religious beliefs or to debase them. This is not analagous to debasing a star of David as suggested above.

What continues to disturb me, and why I vehemently protest your portrayal of this situation, is that physical violence and force should always be a last resort. The church has no excuse of being "young and impulsive." I hold the Catholic Church to a higher standard than a college student. Incidently, the college student has apologised, publicly. He has posted letters and gone on the televised news to do so. Indeed, he publicly recognized that he caused innocent people pain, and that he wanted to stop that. How has the integrity and courage of church leaders been demonstrated in this? Perhaps some consideration that the handling of this situation might be examined for better results in the future might have mitigated the image of extremism that I see in much of the reaction to this event.

Finally, my personal respect for the free exercise of religion by others does NOT extend to violence. I do not support the right of suicide bombers to enforce their view of religion on others. I do not subscibe to either Jihad or Crusade as a legitimate means of worship. I might just as well make the comparison of the behavior exhibited by Catholics in that church with those acts as accept the portrayal of my son's behavior as a "hate crime." Both comparisons are patently absurd. Both behaviors demand apology and deep reflection.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Brian W. Cook, MD
The "hostage taker's" father.

A Voice in the Crowd said...

Dr. Cook-

I was going to take the night off from posting, but thought you post deserved a reply. I am in full agreement with you in regard to violence never being appropriate. Over the past few days I have deleted more posts than I ever thought I would in my life. One post had the phone number, and personal information of your son. I did not post this for the protection and safety on your son and your family. I do not promote violence. In the same breath, I would also say that if someone is desecrating something, people have the right to restrain him or her. You or I can do this legally in our society.

I am in total and complete disagreement that your son’s action is not comparable to desecrating a Star of David. Please realize in my view it is worse. A Star of David is a symbol of God to our Jewish brethren; the Eucharist IS our God. It would be the difference between desecrating a statue of Christ, vs. the person of Christ.

In reading carefully your comments, I think there are still some problems not being faced. First the conflicting stories. One story said he was taking the Eucharist to protest public funds being used. In this story his action was premeditated. When everything started to implode, your son’s story changed to the more benevolent “I was just showing an interested friends.” This change in story makes it hard to believe it was not premeditated. It was totally premeditated and I think someone is not being honest. Did you know right now your son’s close UCF friends have a facebook page supporting him saying that he took the Eucharist to protest public funds? You can’t say this was not pre-meditated.

The second problem with your comments is that the apology was not a true apology. It had many qualifiers to the point it sounded he was still making his point while apologizing. It was not contrite. “I didn’t want to hurt innocent people,” so he wanted to hurt people that were not innocent? Do you see what I mean?

Please understand that the are so many Catholics who feel your son affronted our Savior who suffered for us. Our love for Jesus and the Eucharist is on par with the love we have for our children. Do you think any parent would have let your son leave with malice holding their child without stopping him with every breath they had?

All this being said, I can image this has not been an easy week for your family. If you ever feel that your son wants to truly apologize without qualifications, I will broker this apology with the Catholic League, if you wish. As a father of three, I know that kids do not think through their actions completely. Most adults don’t. I don’t believe your son’s intent on this action was on the level of a hate crime in his head, but it was an affront to the Holiest of Holies of our Catholic Faith and definitely maligned our Christ, our religion and all Catholics beliefs.

deb said...

I fail to understand the violence that was used against Webster Cook. Having someone pry your hand open is not violent. No one beat Webster Cook or shoved him to the floor.

I wrote about this on my blog also.

deb said...

Can I just ask that we please not refer to Webster Cook as though he was a child. Doing so insults the enlisted men and women who chose to enter the military at the age of 18 or 19.

Granted Cook is young but he is still a man legally and we should not refer to him as if he weren't.

Thursday said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Thursday said...

(previous post edited and reposted for grammatical clarity)

Dr. Cook, take it for what it was worth, I was an eyewitness to the incident (I sat in the same row as your son and saw this happen.) your son's claims of violence are stretched much farther than they need be. You should be aware sir that people have gladly sacrificed their very lives to defend this sacrament. You mentioned your son was raised Catholic am I correct? without having to consult cannon law or bring the catechism into this he should have learned that if he is to receive communion his intent MUST be to consume the host he is offered. He also as far as I could see was not taking any active participation in the mass he attended. I was going to go further in my comment but I believe my previous commentators have more than adequately stated the other reasons to think that this was premeditated. and I agree with the previous poster who stated that this is much different than desecrating a religious symbol, you are desecrating Christ Himself. I say all this not for my own personal sake but because your son has committed a terrible sin and that if it is true that he is a Catholic this compounds the sin all the more so, assuming the information provided to us it is hard for him to claim ignorance any way he slices it. I ask for your son's sake and for the restoration of peace to what is already a terrible situation I would say that your son should offer an apology demonstrating contrition for his profanity. as much as I want to remain bitter, I should have you know as I prayed before the very same body and blood soul and divinity of our Lord tonight I cannot remain bitter if your son would truly and contritely confess for his sin, and though I am a layman I forgive him. but for his own sake and for the sake of his soul it is not I whom he should seek forgiveness from. I urge him to go and confess. I do not demand a public spectacle, but a contrite heart. for this is the very same thing our Lord asks for when we make our confession.

let me close by offering this short passage:

1 Cor 11:26-29
(26)For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes.(27) Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord.(28)Let a man examine himself, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup.(29)For any one who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself.