MIT Chaplain Sacked for Questioning ‘Racism’ Narrative

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by Paul Murano  •  ChurchMilitant.com  •  June 19, 2020   

Comments 'do not reflect the positions of the archdiocese'

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BOSTON (ChurchMilitant.com) - A Massachusetts, Catholic chaplain is out of a job after speaking out on the media-supported narrative surrounding the death of George Floyd.

The archdiocese of Boston has requested the resignation of the Rev. Daniel Patrick Moloney, chaplain at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), for sending an e-mail to the school's Catholic community questioning prevailing assumptions in the aftermath of George Floyd's murder.

In an 820-word e-mail Moloney sent to the Catholic community at MIT, Moloney questions whether Floyd's death was motivated by racism, and whether there's a major problem with racism with police in general. He also mentioned Floyd's character to be less than stellar.

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Rev. Daniel Patrick Moloney

Although the university is traditionally the place for the exercise of free speech and the open-minded exchange of ideas, Moloney's e-mail caused a firestorm amidst the emotional turmoil that has enveloped the nation.

In pertinent parts of the chaplain's message, Moloney stated that while Floyd should not have been killed by the police officer, "he had not lived a virtuous life." He also wrote, "In the wake of George Floyd's death, most people in the country have framed this as an act of racism. I don't think we know that. Many people have claimed that racism is a major problem in police forces. I don't think we know that."

Moloney further stated that police "deal with dangerous and bad people all the time, and that often hardens them" — a point that might lead state governments to consider the benefits of continuous psychological/spiritual counseling for active police officers as part of a police-reform package.

It wasn't long before the university received reports of many in the community who were angered and hurt by the comments, according to MIT officials.

Many people have claimed that racism is a major problem in police forces. I don't think we know that.

"The message from Fr. Moloney was deeply disturbing," said Suzy M. Nelson, a vice president and dean for student life for MIT, in a message Friday to leaders of student organizations. "Those who wrote me and other senior leaders were outraged, and many felt abandoned and alienated by their faith," she wrote. "By devaluing and disparaging George Floyd's character, Fr. Moloney's message failed to acknowledge the dignity of each human being and the devastating impact of systemic racism." 


 

Nelson informed the community that when Moloney became chaplain, he signed an agreement with MIT acknowledging that "actions or statements that diminish the value of individuals or groups of people are prohibited." Though the priest was clear that Floyd's death was unjust, the institute judged his questioning of Floyd's character. Nelson added, "Fr. Moloney's e-mail clearly failed to live up to these expectations.”

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George Floyd

It is well documented that Floyd had a police record spanning from 1997–2007 that includes armed robbery with a deadly weapon, theft and illegal drug possession. Toxicology reports note that he had fentanyl and methamphetamine in his system at the time of his death.

Archdiocese Requests Resignation

Two days after Moloney's comments were sent via e-mail, the archdiocese of Boston responded by asking for Moloney's resignation.

The statement the archdiocese sent to members of the MIT Catholic community included, "The personal opinions echoed in his comments regarding the murder of George Floyd do not reflect the positions of the archdiocese." Though the comments should not reflect on all of Moloney's ministry, the archdiocese's statement conceded, "they nonetheless were wrong, and by his resignation, he accepts the hurt they have caused." The archdiocese did not elaborate on which words in Moloney's e-mail were "wrong."

Moloney on Tuesday said that he was trying to speak out against the "cancel culture" and regrets that his message has been misunderstood. He said he "didn’t want to hurt anybody."

The personal opinions echoed in his comments regarding the murder of George Floyd do not reflect the positions of the archdiocese.

"I regret what happened. I regret it was misunderstood. I regret that it became difficult for me to be a voice for Christ on campus," Moloney said in a final statement. "The whole thing went down in a way that I wish were otherwise."

As of Tuesday, nearly 2,800 students, faculty, alumni and staff had signed a petition asking the university to confront racial bias and make the institution "inclusive" and "safe" for all students. The petition said that the university has yet to follow through on recommendations submitted in 2015 by the Black Student Union and the Black Graduate Student Association.

Maloney's dismissal is just the latest in a string of firings and resignations that have transpired as a result of people offering their politically incorrect opinions about racism and the organization Black Lives Matter.

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