GRACE CALLAHAN and ROBBIE MOSCATO-GOODPASTER
A Carmel priest 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 website of St. Elizabeth Seton Catholic Church 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.
Rothrock’s comments about the 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 published the comments Sunday while he was pastor at St. Elizabeth Seton Catholic Church. On Monday, Rothrock was set to become pastor at Our Lady of Mt. Camel Catholic Church, according to a now deleted annoucement on the church website.
A cached version of the announcement by Father Richard Doerr describes Rothrock as "an accomplished liturgist and administrator who has done amazing things in his tenure" at St. Elizabeth Seton.
Doherty's decree said Rothrock would no longer be assigned as pastor of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel and Deacon Bill Reid will serve as administrator of St. Elizabeth Seton.
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.
Ashten Spilker, a co-founder and CEO of Carmel Against Racial Injustice (CARI), called for the removal of Rothrock. She said his comments caused deep "in the community and against members of his own parish and neighbors."
After the decree was issued, Spilker said the group was surprised at the swift response
"This is a sad thing that happened. That someone saw fit to publish something like that and then it lead to this removal," Spilker said. "It's sad an event like this even occurred."
The group had planned a Sunday protest outside the church before the suspension. Now they will hold an event based around "healing." Details of the event were not available Wednesday evening.
WFYI reporter Eric Weddle contributed to this report.