A priest at St. Elizabeth Seton Catholic Church in Carmel was suspended from public ministry for calling people involved with the Black Lives Matter movement “maggots and parasites.”
Father Ted Rothrock first wrote the comments on the church’s website Sunday in a weekly bulletin message. The comments have since been removed following widespread criticism.
The suspension decree was issued Wednesday by Bishop Timothy Doherty of the Diocese of Lafayette-in-Indiana. Doherty, in a statement, said he expresses concern for the affected communities.
“The suspension offers the Bishop an opportunity for pastoral discernment for the good of the diocese and for the good of Father Rothrock,” he wrote.
The decree states Rothrock will no longer be assigned as pastor of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel. Deacon Bill Reid will serve as administrator of St. Elizabeth Seton.
Rothrock’s comments about Black Lives Matter movement drew attention earlier this week from people in Carmel and beyond.
“The only lives that matter are their own and the only power they seek is their own,” Rothrock wrote in the now deleted post. “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.”
Rothrock apologized for his writing Wednesday.
“It was not my intention to offend anyone, and I am sorry that my words have caused any hurt to anyone,” his said in a statement.
Before the decree was public Ashten Spilker, a co-founder and CEO of Carmel Against Racial Injustice (CARI), said the apology did not go far enough.
“We don’t feel that the apology took ownership for the hateful things that he did say,” said Spilker. “We felt as if it more so tried to throw a wet towel over what he said and act like it wasn’t that bad.”
Spilker believes the comments made have no home in the church community.
“This is deep hurt that he has sown in the community and against members of his own parish and neighbors,” Spilker said.
CARI plans to demonstrate Sunday on the sidewalk surrounding the church. The group is hoping that the demonstration can give members of the church an opportunity to show their support for those hurt by Father Rothrock’s comments.