DANA POINT, California, March 14, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Celebrity priest Fr. Larry Richards has taken to Twitter to backpedal his allegation that Catholic media organization Church Militant threatened to “kill” him.
Richards made the claim at a January conference run by Legatus — an association of Catholic CEOs whose members include some of the most influential Catholics in America, LifeSiteNews’ Dorothy Cummings McLean reported Wednesday.
The 58-year-old popular priest issued a clarification Wednesday evening on Twitter, where he has 22,100 followers, but follows only one — Pope Francis.
“I was wrong in what I said about Church Militant – it was NO ONE in their LEADERSHIP who threatened me – it was one of their FOLLOWERS who called me on the phone and threatened me. I should have made that clear. We need to stop demonizing each other, I will stop first. Peace,” tweeted Richards on March 13.
I was wrong in what I said about Church Militant – it was NO ONE in their LEADERSHIP who threatened me – it was one of their FOLLOWERS who called me on the phone and threatened me. I should have made that clear. We need to stop demonizing each other, I will stop first. Peace
— Fr. Larry Richards (@FrLarryRichards) March 14, 2019
Richards’ allegation came during a videotaped talk at the Legatus Summit on loving one’s enemies.
“A couple of months ago I said something about Church Militant, and they threatened to kill me,” he said.
“Literally,” added Richards. “I got death threats from a good Catholic organization that wanted me dead in God’s name.”
Church Militant has mixed feelings about Richards’ tweeted clarification, according to its Editor-in-chief of News, Christine Niles.
“While we appreciate the retraction from Fr. Larry Richards, his comments accusing Church Militant as an organization of threatening to kill him — which basically amounts to a crime — was made in a very public setting, at a public conference recorded on video, to a large audience, which was left with the impression that Church Militant was guilty of criminal conduct,” she told LifeSiteNews in an email.
“The very public nature of the defamation requires an equally public retraction. We aren’t sure a late-night tweet seen by a handful of individuals cuts it,” added Niles.
That was echoed on the Twitter thread under Richards’ retraction, although many expressed admiration for both Richards and Church Militant and urged reconciliation between the two parties.
“I hope that you offered a public apology on your radio show the Church Militant for this HUGE error,” tweeted Michael McGuirk.
I hope that you offered a public apology on your radio show the Church Militant for this HUGE error.
— Michael McGuirk (@MichaelVMcGuirk) March 14, 2019
In all charity, what has happened to you? 2009 FLR would kick 2019 FLR’s tail. You made your name with old cd called “Truth,” maybe you should listen to it.
— Smooch McDog (@BrianTh45079330) March 14, 2019
“Father that's not enough & no matter who started it you & @Church_Militant have to finish it! Ask them for a public forum where you can express your concerns about their activities & they can respond & you can BOTH get wake up calls & mutually resolve to perform Christ's work!” tweeted OnTheSideOfTheAngels.
Father that's not enough & no matter who started it you & @Church_Militant have to finish it! Ask them for a public forum where you can express your concerns about their activities & they can respond & you can BOTH get wake up calls & mutually resolve to perform Christ's work!
— OnTheSideOfTheAngels (@OTSOTA) March 14, 2019
A parish priest of the Diocese of Erie, Pennsylvania, Richards is a popular speaker, broadcaster, and founder of “The Reason For Our Hope Foundation.” He wrote Be a Man! Becoming the Man God Created You To Be, (Ignatius Press in 2009), and is completing a degree in Liturgy at the University of Notre Dame.
He also hosts EWTN Radio’s “Open Line” show every Thursday, and used this position to condemn Church Militant last September.
“Church Militant is not of God,” Richards said during a call-in show. “Stay away from Church Militant. I’m very clear about it. Church Militant is not of God.”
“It is from the devil himself,” he continued. “It brings division, division, division. Don’t ever listen to anything from Church Militant.”
According to Church Militant, EWTN removed the video after intense criticism.
Richards also criticized LifeSiteNews, Church Militant and the OnePeterFive website in a homily earlier that month, saying “…LifeSite – it’s not of God. It’s filled with anger. It’s filled with hate, and it’s filled with mistruth.”