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Catholic chaplain of prestigious college resigns over email saying George Floyd 'had not lived a virtuous life'

'Most people in the country have framed this as an act of racism. I don't think we know that.'

Photographer: Adam Glanzman/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Catholic chaplain of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology resigned earlier this month over an email he sent to the school's Catholic community about the killing of George Floyd, the Boston Globe reported.

The Archdiocese of Boston asked Rev. Daniel Patrick Moloney to step down June 9, the paper said.

What did Moloney's email say?

Moloney's message sent two days prior suggested that Floyd's killing may have had nothing to do with racism, the Globe reported, adding that Moloney also questioned Floyd's character.

More from the paper:

In his message, Moloney said that while Floyd shouldn't have been killed by the police officer, "he had not lived a virtuous life."

"In the wake of George Floyd's death, most people in the country have framed this as an act of racism," Moloney's message read. "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 went on to state that police "deal with dangerous and bad people all the time, and that often hardens them."

According to WBZ-TV, the email also said Floyd "was convicted of several crimes, including armed robbery, which he seems to have committed to feed his drug habit. And he was high on drugs at the time of his arrest. But we do not kill such people."

What did the archdiocese have to say?

"The personal opinions echoed in his comments regarding the murder of George Floyd do not reflect the positions of the archdiocese," a statement sent to members of the MIT Catholic community announcing Moloney's resignation said, according the Globe, adding that they were "wrong and by his resignation he accepts the hurt they have caused."

The archdiocese said Moloney's comments in his email shouldn't reflect badly on his ministry as a whole, the paper reported.

What did MIT have to say?

MIT officials told the Globe they received reports from many in the school community who were angered and hurt by Moloney's email.

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

What else do we know about Moloney?

The Globe — citing the MIT Catholic website — reported that before he was ordained as a priest in 2010, Moloney was briefly a senior policy analyst at conservative outfit the Heritage Foundation.

In the wake of the controversy, Moloney — who's been MIT's chaplain since 2015 — told the paper he was trying to speak out against the cancel culture that diminishes both Floyd and the police as well as highlight how unity among people has weakened.

"I regret what happened, I regret it was misunderstood, I regret that became difficult for me to be a voice for Christ on campus," he told the Globe. "The whole thing went down in a way that I wish were otherwise. ... I didn't want to hurt anybody."

(H/T: The College Fix)

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