Fact Check

Did a Priest Need Surgery to Remove a Crucifix from His Rectum?

Junk news in, junk news out.

Published Jan 10, 2019

 (Soundaholic studio/Shutterstock)
Image Via Soundaholic studio/Shutterstock
A Catholic priest required an emergency surgery to remove a crucifix that had become lodged in his rectum.

Not content to mine mugshots for its "satirical" content, the World News Daily Report (WNDR) junk news site branched out for one story into appropriating a photograph of a medical pioneer.

An article originally published by WNDR on 26 September 2017 and republished on 10 January 2019 involved one "Father Wendel O'Connor," who was purportedly hospitalized under embarrassing circumstances:


A 57-year old Catholic priest was admitted at the Boston Medical Center this morning under very embarrassing circumstances.

Father Wendel O’Connor was rushed to the hospital after he called 911 to report that he had “fallen in the shower” and had a 10-inch long crucifix stuck in his anal cavity.

The radiographs of his abdomen revealed that he, indeed, had a large religious symbol stuck in his rectum.

Doctor James Shephard, who treated Father O'Connor, says he was shocked when he saw the x-ray pictures.

Like all of WNDR's content, the story was fabricated, as was the reference to "Doctor James Shephard," the name attached to a photograph featured in the article:

The photograph actually depicts Dr. Morris F. Collen, one of the original members of the Permanente Medical Group. That group is better known today as the health care provider Kaiser Permanente. According to the company, the photograph of Collen used by WNDR was originally published on the cover of Modern Medicine magazine in 1968.

Collen's research led to Kaiser Permanente's producing one of the first computer databases devoted to tracking patients' health. He died on 27 September 2014 at the age of 100.

The also used Collen's image for another fabricated article, a February 2016 "report" about a teenage girl who claimed that she had been "divinely impregnated" by an angel.

WNDR's articles include disclaimers at the bottom noting that they are "fictional" in nature:

World News Daily Report assumes all responsibility for the satirical nature of its articles and for the fictional nature of their content. All characters appearing in the articles in this website – even those based on real people – are entirely fictional and any resemblance between them and any person, living, dead or undead, is purely a miracle.

Reached for comment, Kaiser Permanente said that they had contacted WNDR asking the site to take down its latest use of Collen's image.


Kaiser Permanente.   "The Legacy of Morris F. Collen, MD."     Accessed 10 January 2019.

Yardley, William. "Morris Collen, Pioneer in Computerized Medicine, Dies at 100."     The New York Times.   4 October 2014.

Debley, Tom.   "50 Years Ago: The Birth of Computers in KP Medicine."     Kaiser Permanente History.   13 May 2010.

Arturo Garcia is a former writer for Snopes.