NEWARK — New Jersey church officials are looking to curtail the online comments of a priest who’s called Hillary Clinton an “evil witch” and former President Barack Obama a “bum.”
The Reverend Peter West of St. John’s Catholic Church in Orange posted the comments on Facebook and Twitter.
He also has called moderate Islam “a myth” and expressed support for President Donald Trump’s travel ban, as well as described millennials as “snowflakes” and liberals as “smug and arrogant.”
Some people have denounced the 57-year-old West as a “hatemonger” who promotes divisiveness. At least one person complained about him to the Newark archdiocese in December, West said in a post.
West has 7,300 Facebook followers. His comments run counter to statements of inclusion made by Pope Francis and by Cardinal Joseph Tobin, who leads the Newark archdiocese.
Archdiocese spokesman Jim Goodness told NJ.com in a statement that a priest doesn’t give up his freedom of expression when he’s ordained. But Goodness said West’s actions raise concerns and they will be addressed according to church protocols.
West declined to comment. He referred questions to Goodness.
The priest is an anti-abortion activist who previously served as vice president for missions at the group Human Life International.