CARMEL, Indiana — A suburban Indianapolis Catholic priest has apologized for remarks in which he compared the Black Lives Matter movement and its organizers to “maggots and parasites.”
Father Theodore Rothrock of St. Elizabeth Seton Catholic Church in Carmel issued the apology Tuesday night in a message sent to parishioners and later posted on the church’s website, The Indianapolis Star reported.
“It was not my intention to offend anyone, and I am sorry that my words have caused any hurt to anyone,” Rothrock wrote.
All people are welcome in God’s kingdom and the church must condemn bigotry, which is “a part of the fabric of our society,” he wrote.
“We must also be fully aware that there are those who would distort the Gospel for their own misguided purposes,” Rothrock wrote. “People are afraid, as I pointed out, rather poorly I would admit, that there are those who feed on that fear to promote more fear and division.”
Bishop Timothy Doherty of the Diocese of Lafayette-in-Indiana said Tuesday that Rothrock should issue a clarification of comments that the pastor wrote Sunday in a weekly bulletin message.
“The only lives that matter are their own and the only power they seek is their own,” Rothrock wrote. “They are wolves in wolves clothing, masked thieves and bandits, seeking only to devour the life of the poor and profit from the fear of others. They are maggots and parasites at best, feeding off the isolation of addiction and broken families, and offering to replace any current frustration and anxiety with more misery and greater resentment.”
His original comments have since been removed from the church’s website.
The newly-formed Carmel Against Racial Injustice group wants Doherty to remove Rothrock from leadership. The group said it plans to demonstrate Sunday on the sidewalk surrounding the church.