While it may seem like the ultimate paradox, death – as we all know – is part and parcel of life. In fact, it’s one of the greatest tragedies of being human – or any other living creature for that matter.
As humans, we are able to form close bonds with friends, family, and loved ones, and so when we lose them permanently, it can have an absolutely devastating effect on our lives.
Losing a parent can be particularly difficult, because no matter how old you are, they’ll (in most cases) have been the ones who you turned to for support, nurturing, and unconditional love.
But unfortunately, parents die every single day, and sometimes they die far too young.
Agnes Hicks was one of these loving parents. She always did what she could to ensure her kids got the absolute best out of their upbringing. Unfortunately, at the age of just 54, she passed away.
And while no one likes the idea of planning a funeral for someone they love, it’s often the place where loved ones are finally able to get some kind of closure.
So the family of the late Agnes Hicks meticulously planned her funeral to give her the send-off she deserved.
Hundreds of people arrived at the church with the intention of paying their respects, but unfortunately, the service ended up not going ahead for one incredibly outrageous reason.
The priest who was supposed to officiate the service kicked the entire congregation out of the Maryland church before Hicks’ funeral could even take place.
His name is Reverend Michael Briese, and the damning incident was captured on camera at Saint Mary’s Catholic Church in Charlotte Hall last week.
Watch the shocking footage here:
The video shows the priest engaging in a very hostile confrontation with family members of the late Agnes Hicks.
So what happened to send him into a complete meltdown?
Well, when one of the mourners hugged a fellow mourner they accidentally knocked over the church’s sacred chalice.
“That’s when all hell broke loose,” Hicks’ daughter, Shanice Chisely explained. “[Briese] literally got on the mic and said, ‘there will be no funeral, there will be no mass, no repass, everyone get the hell out of my church.'”
Briese also reportedly called the deceased a “thing” saying “Get this thing out of my church”.
The footage, captured on a cell phone, showed Briese near the casket reprimanding Hicks’ loved ones for what was ultimately just an accident.
“Bad enough we had to bury our own mother yesterday but for you to say she’s a thing’ and there will be no funeral,” Renetta Baker, one of Hicks’ daughters said. “You’re not a preacher. You’re not a pastor. You’re not a father of the Lord. You’re not any of that. You’re the devil.”
The priest certainly wasn’t doing himself any favors when he called the cops on them. When they left the church with their mother in the casket, it was then that they were confronted with the police.
Of course, the police soon decided the family had done nothing wrong and escorted them to a funeral home in a different county where the ceremony was finally officiated.
However, it simply wasn’t the same. You see, Hicks’ loved ones were intent on the funeral taking place in the church where she was baptized as a young girl. But it was from that very church that they were shunned for no good reason.
“My mom was supposed to have a great funeral and all this came up and I’m so traumatized by it. I’m going to be thinking about this every day. I’ll never forget this day,” Davon Chisley, Hicks’ son, said.
“This was uncalled for and it really hurt me,” her brother, Larry Hicks added. “It really did, to see your loved one come there to rest and to be shut down like that.”
Following the backlash, the priest responsible for the incident apologized for his rash actions in an open letter published by the Maryland Independent.
“I uttered words I never use, and treated people I have lived with and committed my life to serve in an unacceptable manner,” he said. “Instead of care and compassion for the grieving family and friends, my focus turned to anger.”
In a statement the Archdiocese of Washington said, “What occurred at St. Mary’s Parish this morning does not reflect the Catholic Church’s fundamental calling to respect and uplift the God-given dignity of every person nor does that incident represent the pastoral approach the priests of the Archdiocese of Washington commit to undertake every day in their ministry.'”
The matter is still being investigated by the Archdiocese who have not yet confirmed what will happen to Briese. There is no denying what he did was completely inappropriate and callous, and we hope the family were able to get the funeral service they had envisioned at the second venue.
Unfortunately, Briese certainly isn’t the only religious leader to receive attention for misconduct recently.
One priest shocked guests at a baptism by slapping the baby before the ceremony had even begun:
Needless to say, baptisms are pretty significant occasions for believers and a lot of effort is put in to make sure the ceremony reflects this.
For this reason, baptisms often prove to be pretty stressful occasions, but what makes them that much more taxing is the mere fact that they revolve around babies.
While most of us can agree that babies are totally and utterly adorable, they sure do know how to make things difficult with their tendency to cry for what seems like hours on end.
It can be really difficult to know what to do to pacify a crying baby if nothing you’ve tried has worked. Babies are just stubborn like that and it’s not like they can help it, they’re just acting on their instincts.
So this begs the question, what do you do if you’re in the middle of a baptism and the waterworks start? You’re up there with the priest and your yet-to-be-baptized child, but that child just won’t stop bawling its tiny little eyes out?
Do you just ignore it? Do you ask to be excused so you can wait until the kid has calmed down enough for the ceremony to proceed? Do you try to hush the baby then and there with the whole congregation watching you?
While most people would be at a loss as to how best to approach the situation, one French priest has sparked outrage by doing something truly unthinkable at a baptism he was officiating.
When the baby in question wouldn’t stop crying, the priest thought the best way around it was to slap the infant in the face. Naturally, the baby’s parents were shocked by the priest’s disgusting actions – he’s certainly not a man of honor.
We hope that the child in question suffers no lasting psychological damage as a result of this incident.