Catholic Priest criticised for Facebook post advising Trump detractors to jump off a skyscraper

Father Philip J. Pizzo says he shared the meme because he 'thought it was funny'

Charlotte England
Tuesday 31 January 2017 15:51
Father Philip Pizzo
Father Philip Pizzo

A Catholic Priest has suggested anyone who disagrees with US President Donald Trump should kill themselves by jumping off a tall building.

Father Philip J. Pizzo shared a post on Facebook which appeared to encourage suicide, just hours after he led Sunday Mass at Saint Benedict Joseph Labre Church in New York, .

“Show your hate for Trump. Do it for social justice. #JumpAgainstTrump,” said a meme he posted to his personal account, accompanied by an illustration of a man falling from a skyscraper.

The 67-year-old cleric deleted the post shortly after sharing it with his friends and followers, but not before several members of his congregation had seen his offensive comment and some users had taken pictures of the post.

The priest said he shared the post because that he thought the meme was “funny”.

“I do not promote suicide,’’ Mr Pizzo told The New York Post. “I’ve helped many people over the years, and it does not promote suicide. It was funny.”

The priest, whose congregation come largely from immigrant backgrounds, previously posted a photo of Barack Obama with the words: “He’s not my president’’.

A snapshot of Hillary Clinton captioned “Ugly Face’’ in Italian and “Happy Halloween“, has also appeared on his social media page, The New York Post reported.

Some parishioners said they would stop attending the church as a result of the suicide meme, while others have called for Mr Pizzo to be investigated.

“Suicide is not funny, plain and simple,” said Carlos Coburn, who attended the church for 20 years.

Mr Coburn added that he once sought counselling from Mr Pizzo because he had experienced intrusive thoughts about killing himself, but he said he will now start worshipping elsewhere.

“It’s disturbing for someone in my situation,’’ Mr Coburn said. “I know this man, he baptised me, and I don’t want to go back to his church”.

Others said the post was “tone-deaf” considering the area's large Latin American and Caribbean immigrant population.

A spokesman for the Diocese of Brooklyn said the post does not reflect the church’s stance and has been removed.

“Father Pizzo did share the meme in question on his personal Facebook page,” he said. “He says he intended it as satire only, regrets the offense it has caused and has deleted it. This post does not, in any way, represent the view of the church.”

The Samaritans in the UK can be contacted on 116 123

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