Missouri Gov. Mike Parson, left, and the Rev. Shawn McKnight of Jefferson City Diocese talk on Saturday, Feb. 1, 2020, before Parson addresses a crowd of about 500 for the 2020 Midwest March for Life at St. Peter Catholic Church in Jefferson City. Parson was the first Missouri governor to attend the march or speak at the rally. Photo by Christian Gooden, firstname.lastname@example.org
JEFFERSON CITY — The bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Jefferson City is “saddened” by the fallout from anti-vaccine comments made by a mid-Missouri priest during Masses last weekend, the bishop’s spokeswoman told the Post-Dispatch on Friday.
Helen Osman, spokeswoman for the diocese and Bishop Shawn McKnight, said in an email that McKnight’s office “has received reports of inappropriate comments” against the COVID-19 vaccine by the Rev. William Korte “during last weekend’s liturgies.”
She said Korte is the pastor of St. Lawrence Parish in St. Elizabeth, Missouri, and that he started there July 1 after serving as pastor for two northeast Missouri parishes.
“Bishop W. Shawn McKnight is saddened by the division that Father Korte’s personal opinions has caused in the community,” Osman said. “Based on the reports he has received, he does not approve of the comments.
“The unity and pastoral care of the parishioners of St. Elizabeth is his first priority,” she said. “The matter is being addressed. Since this is a personnel matter, we will not be providing further details.”
Korte did not immediately respond to an email on Friday. According to his biography on the Homiletic Pastoral Review website, he was ordained in 1983 and co-hosts a radio show. He has also served in various roles for the diocese, including as exorcist, associate vocation director, dean and spiritual director.
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