The great David L. Gray. Superb. I love it. Yes, what is happening is that slitting the throat of Father Altman is meant to send a message to other priests who might be a little scared to preach boldly. They should just continue sitting on the fence.
Speaking of fences, a story comes to mind. Down in the Down Under, Australia, I was sent to a parish to fix the problems left by the previous priest, serious problems, problems which came about because he insisted on siting on the fence.
The wonderful church ladies cornered me just as I was driving into town to my new parish, they not knowing me and vice versa. They just had to tell me a story to make sure I wouldn’t be sitting on any fences. They said they had reprimanded the previous priest for sitting on the fence, and warned him about why that’s never a good idea these days. Why? he asked. Because, they said, fences these days are made with razor wire, you know, concertina.