You are Indian… you can’t say mass!’ Man ‘stabbed a Catholic priest in the neck’ during Sunday service after yelling that he is ‘Hindu or Muslim
Melbourne-A man seemingly of Italian descent walked into the St Matthew Catholic Church in Melbourne and challenged the priest that he couldn’t lead mass because he was Indian.He began to argue and the man used a kitchen knife to stab Rev Mathew in the neck in the front of dozens of stunned parishioners. According to witness , Rev Tomy Kalathoor Mathew, 48, was taken to The Northern hospital following the stabbing at 11am. The priest is said to be in shock.
Rev Mathew was not seriously injured in the brazen attack but was rushed to hospital after his flock gave him first aid inside the church.
The alleged attacker was seen hanging around the church last weekend but has not attended any services.
Racism is the main reason that the priest was stabbed in the neck moments before he was about to say mass at a Melbourne church. It’s believed that the offender told the priest that because he was Indian, he must be a Hindu or a Muslim and therefore can’t be saying mass.
The incident happened at 11 am at Melbourne local time, where an armed man with a knife approached priest Rev Tomy Kalathoor Mathew, 48, in the church foyer moments, just before the Italian-language mass at St Matthew’s Parish in Fawkner on Sunday.
The Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne said the priest was doing well in hospital and wanted to get back to work soon.
“His thoughts are only for his parishioners,” Vicar General Monsignor Greg Bennet said.
“This is appalling behaviour and people should never be treated like this,” archdiocese spokesman Shane Healy told AAP.
This becomes a matter of concern especially in the wake of the death of an Indian national in Kansas, USA because of his descent. Here too, the motivation has clearly been established how this is a racial attack.
At this stage it is too early to tell (motive) and the investigation is ongoing,’ Detective Senior Constable Rhiannon Norton said at a press conference.
‘At this stage we believe the incident is isolated and there is nothing to suggest that he is a danger to anyone else.’
The offender is described as an Italian man in his 70s of thin build and was last seen wearing grey clothing.
A 72-year-old man has been arrested after a Melbourne priest was stabbed in the neck in an apparently racist attack.
The Fawkner man was being questioned on Sunday night following the attack in the church foyer of St Matthew’s Parish in Fawkner on Sunday morning.
Rev Mathew has been the parish priest of St Matthew’s since late 2014 and was well-liked by congregation members, who were shocked by the attack.