The pastor of a largely immigrant Catholic church in Queens has a suggestion for his anti-Trump parishioners: Go take a flying leap off the nearest building.
“Show your hate for Trump. Do it for social justice. #JumpAgainstTrump,” read a meme posted by the Rev. Philip Pizzo just
hours after he celebrated Sunday Mass.
The message included an illustration of a man plummeting from a skyscraper.
The conservative priest, who oversees St. Benedict Joseph Labre Roman
Catholic Church in Richmond Hill, previously posted a photo of
President Obama with the words “He’s not my president’’ and another
snapshot of Hillary Clinton titled “Ugly Face’’ in Italian along with
Pizzo, 67, told The Post on Monday that he just thought the “Jump Against Trump’’ meme was “funny.”
“I do not promote suicide,’’ Pizzo insisted. “I’ve helped many people
over the years, and it does not promote suicide. It was funny.”
But some parishioners were outraged.
“Suicide is not funny, plain and simple,” said Carlos Coburn, a
congregant who once sought counseling from Pizzo because he was
struggling with thoughts about killing himself.
Coburn said he has attended the church for 20 years but will start worshiping elsewhere, given the controversial posting.
“It’s disturbing for someone in my situation,’’ Coburn said. “I know
this man, he baptized me, and I don’t want to go back to his church.”
Another parishioner said Pizzo “normally posts about supporting Trump, but this was just taking it too far.’’
Alex Leston, who attended services at St. Benedict until three years
ago — when Pizzo axed funding for a youth program he worked on — said he
too was “appalled” by the meme.
The priest’s social-media politicking is particularly troubling given
the area’s large Hispanic immigrant population, according to Leston,
who feels that the tone-deaf post shows how disconnected Pizzo is from
“The parish he is supposed to be serving is mainly Latin American and Caribbean,” he said. “It’s not a good look for him.”
A rep 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,” said diocese spokesman Vito Formica.
“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.”
On the day of President Trump’s inauguration, Pope Francis urged the
new leader of the free world to uphold “the advancement of human
“At a time when our human family is beset by grave humanitarian
crises demanding far-sighted and united political responses, I pray that
our decisions will be guided by the rich spiritual and ethical values
that have shaped the history of the American people,’’ the pontiff said.