CARMEL, Ind. (WISH) — The Rev. Theodore Rothrock, pastor of St. Elizabeth Seton Catholic Church, wrote that leaders of the Black Lives Matter and Antifa are pushing a left-wing socialist agenda and don’t care about their supporters.
The statements were published in a weekly newsletter that were removed Monday from the church website, but not before members of the Carmel Against Racial Injustice read the message.
Pictures of the post were sent to News 8. In the newsletter, Rothrock says in reference to leaders of the Black Lives Matter organization, “The only lives that matter are their own and the only power they seek is their own.
“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.”
Ashten Spilker, one of the founding members of Carmel Against Racial injustice, told News 8, “This was a thought-out statement. That he made this, was printed and given to members of the parish on Sunday, so this went through multiple hands. He read over this. He was deliberate in his wording. He was deliberate in his statements.”
“‘Maggots’ and ‘parasites’ is a pretty straightforward insult,” Spilker said.
No one at noon Mass on Tuesday would speak publicly about the comments.
Carmel Against Racial Injustice planned a daylong protest against Rothrock to start at 6:30 a.m. Sunday at the church.
“Pastors do not submit bulletin articles or homilies to my offices before they are delivered. I expect Father Rothrock to issue a clarification about his intended message. I have not known him to depart from Church teaching in matters of doctrine and social justice.”
The Most Rev. Timothy Doherty, bishop of the Diocese of Lafayette-in-Indiana
Early Wednesday, Rothrock issued the following statement concerning his earlier comments:
I am somewhat surprised that my recent article has received such extensive coverage and has aroused such interest and debate. It was not my intention to offend anyone, and I am sorry that my words have caused any hurt to anyone.
From the Christian perspective, we are called to promote peace and justice. The peace we proclaim is the Peace that comes to us in the person of Christ Jesus our Lord. The justice we seek is granted to us from God. These values and beliefs are not the property of governments or political parties.
Since the earliest generations, when the disciples of Jesus began their work to usher in the Kingdom of God, there has been resistance, even within the Church herself. The Gospel message is a narrow door that resists any kind of compromise. Slavery was a fact of the ancient world. The Church brought a message of hope to the enslaved, that their bondage was about to come to an end. It took many hundreds of years to banish the institution of slavery. The Gospel remains firm in the teaching that all people are welcome to the table in God’s Kingdom. Racial and ethnic bigotries are evils that have been rightly condemned by the Church and are not to be tolerated. They have never been tolerated by me, and never will be. Life is a sacred gift from God and must be reverenced as such. The institutional sin of black enslavement had to be removed from our nation at a terrible cost and the damage has not departed from us. The sin of bigotry has remained a part of the fabric of our society. This must be rooted out of our culture through the grace of spiritual conversion in the hearts of everyone. It is the task of every Christian, and certainly every Catholic, to uphold the Gospel and the social teaching of the Church. I have always held firm to this belief and have promoted this teaching at St. Elizabeth Seton.
However, we must also be fully aware that there are those who would distort the Gospel for their own misguided purposes. 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.
The Gospel of Jesus Christ brings clarity and purpose to our human condition as the children of God. The central message of Christianity is contained in the belief that God so loved the world that he gave us his only Son. Not to condemn us, but to bring us into eternal life. At St. Elizabeth Seton we have prayed the Peace Prayer every day for the last nineteen years.
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace:
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope; Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy.”
This is the message we seek to instill in the hearts of all people, turning fear into faith.