“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)

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Webster Cook's Father Checks in Again

Below is a post by Webster Cook's father and my reply:

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. There is a belief among Catholics that the one accepted religious bigotry allowed in America is anti-Catholicim. I posted this comparison on purpose. Saying that if you son disrupted any other religious denomination service in America, I don't think you would be defending him as much as you are now. I don't think you would call the Anti-Defamation League press statement condeming your son's action if it was in a synagogue, "A Bully". Would you Dr. Cook? See you remove Roman Catholicism out of the equation and the incident becomes more vile.

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? Your son is listed as the President of this page. You can’t say this was not premeditated.

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?

You sign your post the "hostage-taker's" father. It still seems to be a big joke for you. As the apology is for us Devout Catholics.

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 and put this chapter behind him. 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 deserving of a response action.

Webster Cook's Father:

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.

Sincerely,Brian W. Cook, MDThe "hostage taker's" father.


Anonymous said...

Now we have a much bigger problem. PZ Meyers has posted a vile rant against Catholics and he is asking people to desecrate the Eucharist in response to Webster's story.

So much prayer is needed for everyone!
pax, Mary

A Voice in the Crowd said...

The Catholic League issued a statement today bringing PZ Myers' anti-Catholic, bigoted rants to the forefront.

PZ Myers diatribe against the Eucharist on his blog is disgusting. He asks that people send the Eucharist to him so he can personally desecrate it on video and post the video on his blog.

After the League issued a statement asking people to contact the University of Minnesota, surprisingly the employer of this bigot allowing him access to a classroom and students, PZ in true cowardly fashion said he was only talking figuratively about the request. The Backpedal...

I would like to be a fly on the wall when he tries to explain this post to his employer. The MN Star Tribune picked up the story, so this story will get a lot larger and a lot more pressure will be put on the unniversity to take action.

I wrote an e-mail to the UM President asking him to check if Myers' posts on his blog from the university. If so, this blog is not something he does in his "personal time", and he can be discharged. We don't need someone this hateful and dark anywhere in the educational system.

Anonymous said...

Dr. Cook, I have prayed for all of you. As a father and head of the family, please keep close to Christ.

I have been to countries and witnessed those who are still dying for Christ, and those who walk for days to go to Mass. It has been so from the beginning.

God bless and keep you.

Anonymous said...

I also want to say that Webster Cook is not responsible one iota for what Mr. Myers is doing. Webster got carried away with an idea or caught up in the moment - the reaction of the Catholic Community, imho, was primarily to get Webster to see the gravity of the situation was greater than someone holding a wrist. On the other hand, Mr. Myers is a bigot who is using Webster's story as a launching pad.

I hope the Cooks know that we know that Webster and PZ are two very different people.

Pax, Mary

Leticia said...

A First Holy Communion certificate tells us that your son was catechized at one point which makes his action all the more henious, as he knew WHOM he was abusing!!
Dr Cook, receiving the Eucharist is consuming it, not bringing it out of the church to 'do something', anything with it.

St. Tarcisius died rather than allow atheists to desecrate the Body and Blood Soul and Divinity of Christ.
Bishop Oscar Romero of El Salvador risked death by machine gun when he rescued the Blessed Sacrament from a church invaded by guerillas who had no respect for the Body of Christ.
To suggest that your son's poor excuse for an apology, laced with conditions and self-pity, is sufficient, reveals more about your compromised moral standards as a father than you know. Condiser how your son compares to the above heroes of the Faith.
Our standards for our children must not come from popular culture, but from our noble Catholic heritage.

Anonymous said...

Dr. Cook,

"Voice in the Crowd" has been flawlessly rational here. Flawlessly Rational & not an ounce of Bigotry or Wraith.

You are an educated man. I think the only wise course of Action would be to listen to him. Unless you can fault his logic. Which of course you can't but you are welcome to try.

Everyone knows your son had nothing directly to do with the psycho threats of P.Z. Myers but it is CLEAR that media addicted fruit-bat Professor intends to exploit your son to try to become the next Ward Churchill wannabe. Are you comfortable with that?

I think you should direct you "outrage" toward those who truly deserve it. God be with you. I will pray for you & you son at Mass tomorrow. -BenYachov(Jim Scott 4th)

William said...

Catholics I know are just praying for all who hate our religion and want to mock our faith. Catholics are subject to violence worldwide.
Perhaps his father can provide some proof of this "Death Threat"?

Rosemarie said...


>>>The MN Star Tribune picked up the story, so this story will get a lot larger

The publicity this whole fiasco is getting is as bad as the fiasco itself, if not worse. Now more militant atheists and other ne'er-do-wells may decide to obtain Hosts just to desecrate them.

Maybe it's time we petition the Vatican to repeal the dispensation for Communion in the hand. Though I don't agree with those who say it's innately sinful or disrespectful, since the early Christians received that way, it does make it easier to steal the Blessed Sacrament for nefarious purposes. If Communion desecration becomes a popular pastime among the "new atheists," it will be time to change Church policy.

In Jesu et Maria,

Eve said...

I am a new reader who was disturbed to read so much vitriol coming out of commentators against Catholicism. Most comments are due to ignorance and a lack of knowledge of western culture and history, but they are still disturbing.

I was wondering about Webster Cook's statements that he was "attacked," when it appears that a woman grabbed his wrist (exactly what a person would do to a kid trying to walk out of a store with a CD or out of your house with a valuable, probably?). Grabbing someone's wrist is now an attack? Does anyone know the actual evidence?

This brings me to ask about Webster Cook's claim to have received "death threats." I read the FOX and other reports, and their only source or evidence is Cook himself. Has anyone actually seen an email or other communication threatening death? If so, where is it, why has it not been produced, and why hasn't anyone been arrested?

Anonymous said...

Sorry but the Star of David is not a symbol of God but a symbol of Jewish identity. It is used as an euphamism for God but I do not see how it can be desecrated unless it is used to attack Jewish people (like it is done in anti-semitic cartoons) and not God. There is nothing equivalent in Judaism to be able to compare with the Eucharist. We Jews see that if you want to attack God than that is between you and God. No need for outrage from us Jews who are worried about our own actions. With that said I would not desecrate anybody's religious symbols but I don't think I would make such a fuss about this. I feel it is going too far. I know that Webster Cook went too far with his disrespect but the reaction is giving him more attention than he deserves.

A Voice in the Crowd said...


We Jews see that if you want to attack God than that is between you and God. No need for outrage from us Jews who are worried about our own actions.

This is a totally inaccurate statement. The Anti-Defamation League exists in its essence to defend the Jewish Faith against malicious attacks. These Jewish brethren would not agree with your statement that it is between the person and God, and obviously you do not speak for these devout Jews.

If a person came into a synagogue, disrupted the service, desecrated Yaweh and tore the Torah, the ADL would definitely have something to say against it and be outraged, and rightly so. So your statement is totally untrue.

In regard to giving Cook too much attention, it depends on the outcome. If he is thrown off the Senate, and thrown out of the university, this too much "attention” will serve as lesson going forward for all others. It is the right type of too much attention.