The pastor of a largely immigrant Catholic church has suggested that those protesting against US President Donald Trump must commit suicide by taking a “flying leap off the nearest building”.
“Show your hate for Trump. Do it for social justice. #JumpAgainstTrump,” read a message posted by Father Philip Pizzo, just hours after he celebrated the Sunday Mass, the New York Post reported.
The message included an illustration of a man plummeting from a skyscraper.
Pizzo, 67, told the New York Post on Monday: “I do not promote suicide. I’ve helped many people over the years, and it does not promote suicide. It was funny.”
Some parishioners were outraged.
“Suicide is not funny, plain and simple,” said Carlos Coburn, a congregant who once sought counselling from Pizzo because he was struggling with thoughts about killing himself.
Another parishioner, Alex Leston, said he was appalled by the post. “Father Pizzo normally posts about supporting Trump, but this was just taking it too far.”
The conservative priest, who oversees St. Benedict Joseph Labre Roman Catholic Church in Richmond Hill, previously posted a photo of former President Barack Obama with the words “He’s not my President” and another snapshot of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton titled “Ugly Face”.