Carmel Catholic pastor suspended over Black Lives Matter remarks

A bishop suspended a suburban Indianapolis Catholic pastor from public ministry Wednesday for remarks in which he compared the Black Lives Matter movement and its organizers to “maggots and parasites.”

Bishop Timothy Doherty of the Diocese of Lafayette-in-Indiana took the action against the Rev. Theodore Rothrock of St. Elizabeth Seton Catholic Church in Carmel for 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.”

A statement posted on the diocesan website said Doherty “expresses pastoral 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. Various possibilities for his public continuation in priestly ministry are being considered, but he will no longer be assigned as Pastor of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel. Deacon Bill Reid will serve as Administrator of St. Elizabeth Seton,” the statement said.

Rothrock was due to move to his new parish next month.

Rothrock issued an 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.”

Rothrock’s original comments have since been removed from the church’s website.

The newly-formed group Carmel Against Racial Injustice asked Doherty to remove Rothrock from leadership. The group had said it planned to demonstrate Sunday on the sidewalk surrounding the church.

Please enable JavaScript to view this content.

{{ articles_remaining }}
Free {{ article_text }} Remaining
{{ articles_remaining }}
Free {{ article_text }} Remaining Article limit resets in {{ count_down }} days.