A Santa Fe priest who said he didn’t feel any remorse for referring to the coronavirus as the “China virus” — a term considered by some as racist and xenophobic — has apologized.

In an interview Wednesday, the Rev. Larry Brito of St. Anne Parish was adamant there was nothing wrong with the term, saying it is a term others use. But in a letter to the editor submitted Friday to The New Mexican, Brito said he has since learned the term “can be hurtful and even harmful.”

Brito said he composed “a quick memo” Nov. 28 to the parishioners of St. Anne stating he had been exposed to COVID-19. He said he referred to the exposure as the “China/Corna [sic] Virus” with what he called a lack of prudential judgment.

“I am not apologizing because I wish to be ‘politically correct,’ or because I was asked by a higher authority, but rather as I discerned, with the input of a few brave souls (who shared dialog with me to help me understand how this way of referencing to the virus can be hurtful and even harmful to Chinese Americans and to people of Chinese descent),” he wrote.

Brito, who has tested positive for COVID-19, apologized “to anyone who was or may have been affected by those miswritten words.”

Stop AAPI Hate, a reporting center launched in March in response to the “alarming escalation in xenophobia and bigotry” against Asians as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic lambasted Brito’s defense of the term before he apologized.

“It is wrong for any individual to spout hateful rhetoric, but for a man of faith — a reverend, no less — to continue to use the term ‘China virus,’ which we know to threaten the safety of the AAPI [Asian American and Pacific Islander] community, is unconscionable,” the group wrote on Twitter.

Follow Daniel J. Chacón on Twitter @danieljchacon.

(60) comments

Mike Johnson

A man of God speaking the truth to church political power. He was obviously intimidated by those powers, but he should never apologize for speaking the truth. Why would the church demand he not speak the truth? Right......

Comment deleted.
Gene Hill

This has been reported to the moderator for being a baseless lie. May I remind you, you're posting on a newspaper website and you really need to put your garbage out elsewhere.

Anita McGinnis

Al, it's all so confusing. My sister had the German measles and my brother had the Spanish flu. They both recovered. Later, I got the Chinese virus (flu) but that is certainly racist because Trump said so. Trump is a powerful man.

Comment deleted.
Anita McGinnis

It was Biden who said that integrating Black students into school would result in a racial jungle. Kamala Harris stated publicly that she was a victim of Biden's policy. Trump has restored and increased funding permanently for Black colleges.

Al Chavez

Anita, Biden's admitted to making mistakes. That was one of them. Trump on the other hand never admits he's wrong. To err is human but to claim you never make a mistake is to live in a fantasy land.

Al Chavez

Terms like German measles and Spanish flu are not pejorative terms. It all depends, doesn't it, on the way an expression is used. We all know terms that are used for various nationalities that are pejorative "you dumb_______". Fill in the blank with the term for that ethnic group.

The trouble with "China virus" is it wasn't used by Donald Trump as a simple historical fact—he intended it as disparagement of the Chinese who first suffered this aberration of nature—more commonly referred to as an Act of God. And there's the rub, isn't it, it was intended as slanderous epithet.

Rev. Brito, to his credit, recognized that fact and apologized. Kudos to him....he gets it.

Khal Spencer

That's my read, too. It has been used in a pejorative way. If people had simply taken it as "it originated in China" and even criticized the Chinese government for withholding information, that would be fine. But when it becomes a sort of group libel, it gets to ugly sorts of behavior. That's where it gets iffy.

I doubt any Spanish-Americans have to worry about "Spanish Flu" or German-Americans worry about German Measles but those are old terms. During WW I however, many German businesses changed their names. Such as Liberty House in Hawai'i, which was originally H. Hackfeld & Co.

Anyway, I think this horse has been beaten to death. As you say, Kudo's to Fr. Brito for clearing this up.

John Martinez

I also want apologies from everyone for calling the flu Spanish, how crazy is this? Sayning The Spanish flu is very derogatory and prejudice....lol

Gene Hill

That term was coined 100+ years ago. Don't you think that maybe we should have evolved a little bit then?

Anita McGinnis

Some of us don't want to evolve into new age followers.

Anita McGinnis

Yeah, I wonder what these critics would do with the word "Mexican" Can you imagine Fr. Brito asking for Mexican food? Oh the "shock and hurt!.

Anita McGinnis

Okay gang, now let's go after anyone who admits to ever having the German Measles!

We feel our power now, how groovy!

Keep your eyes open. Listen to any one who says anything slightly suspicious. And be sure to contact the newspaper. Then we can have a hate fest in the name of love. We destroyed the Civil War monument on the plaza in the name of love, of course. Report and attack if you hear the odious term Bird Flu! Someone identifying as a bird may be hurt! Speak as viciously as you like- because love. And you will feel so good about yourself.

Mark Stahl

If you believe that the earth is god’s creation, you must accept that the virus is god’s creation as well. Stop blaming China for the work of god.

Robert Bartlett

Actually we blame the CCP.

Emily Koyama

Well, in that case, blame God for Trump, and everything he has done....Obama too, for that matter.See how easy this gets?

HRH Prince Michael Jauregui

Mr. Stahl, I can concur with -both- you and Mr. Bartlett. In one of my more prominent compositions elsewhere I wrote:

"Even in the midst of a text-book Act of God, politicians continue to

commit to their "Red", "Blue" and "Corporate America" agendas.

More, pure party-line Treason - and business as usual."

Now, let's start with the basic Truth, The Almighty and Eternal Yahweh is The God of All Creation. Divine Creator of Heaven and Earth, and all that is in them. However, God's greatest creation, Man, was given dominion over Earth - a steward, if you will. So, if a large part of the Amazon rain-forests are torched, -to become cattle ranches- is this also an Act of God? Of course not - an act of Greed. Meanwhile, The Holy Bible

teaches us that "All things serve God", and My Ancestor, The Blessed King Solomon expounds further, in the Book of Proverbs, teaching "The Lord hath made all things for himself; even the wicked for the day of evil".

Thus, while Communist China created the virus, a truly loving and long-suffering father, Almighty Yahweh, through his own creation, allowed it to proliferate. Or, in the words I was told long-ago by a devout Christian elder: "Prince, nothin' moves until God does".

"Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord, and against his anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision.Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure."

Anita McGinnis

We don't have to accept any absurd suggestion.

Emily Hartigan

Whatever his history, in THIS case, he apologized. That is a minor miracle, an apology and change of heart these days, and I say, let's just rejoice and be glad that care for those who have been treated with prejudice has become clear to this person. Congratulations and thanks to him.

Hills Snyder

Boils down to poor leadership: the ONLY reason anyone says "China virus" is because the deposed President says it.

Robert Bartlett

Actually no. The virus came from China. Try facing the reality, you'll feel better about yourself.

Angel Ortiz

Bob, actually Donald started the blame game on China. Others were simple minded enough to jump on the bandwagon. Doesn't matter anymore where it came from, what matters is do we have the resolve and ability to address this virus as a community. From the numbers that are growing, it looks pretty bad from where I sit. Have a great day ese.

Robert Bartlett

No, President Trump did not start the pandemic, China did. Your childish assertion that President Trump is to blame will not stand the test of history.

Lucas Lujan

Angel, where did the virus come from? When truth becomes a lie we all lose. God no longer sees you as an Angel. You can't tell someone off when what was said is the truth. It may be insensitive, but as far as I know we, still have the first amendment.

Angel Ortiz

Bob, nice try but once again you are not correct. I didn't blame Trump for the virus, although he totally fumbled the ball when it hit our country. My statement was that Donald was very good at blaming others and not taking responsibility.

Lucas, as for you, I don't see how you can speak for God and judge my name. At the end of the day, I don't answer to people like you.

Mark Stahl

Reality? Aren’t you the guy who said trump won the election in a landslide?

Carlos Vasquez

and remember, he 'Spanish Flu' originated on a farm in Kansas; lots of avian, and stock mixed together- like a 'wet market in China... The Spanish press had the cajones to report that it was happening around the world, as so got the naming rights...

Angel Ortiz

Light hearted apology. Still disgusted by his recent comments and those he has made in the past.

Samuel Herrera

He might try reading the Bible once in awhile

Gene Hill

It might be the kind of apology made only because he got in trouble for it. If he's really sorry he will find ways to make it up, as a good priest instructs his followers. One thing about being Catholic is believing the worst people are still redeemable.

Comment deleted.
Mike Johnson

[thumbup] Well said hermano.

Comment deleted.
Lee Vigil

This sounds crazy! Full of unfounded conspiracy theories. People need to read more.

Stefanie Beninato

A backhanded apology if I ever heard one. Pressure no doubt to apologize but not really a change of heart.

Anita McGinnis

Who are you to judge anyone's heart? You don't sound very kind. I don't know about your heart. But your comment sounds cold and self-righteous.

Sabine Strohem

The ignorance and propaganda shared here is stunning and deplorable. Glug, glug.

Robert Bartlett

The Wuhan virus came from China. The CCP lied to the world and is responsible for millions of deaths. The same CCP persecutes Christians and Muslims and harvests organs from them. And in Santa Fe a priest cannot say China virus. Lord help us.

HRH Prince Michael Jauregui

Amen and amen, forevermore!

Mike Johnson

[thumbup] Exactly, well stated!

Lee DiFiore

Someone saying it like it is.

Mark Stahl

Trump is complicit with the CCP in that he lied to the American people about the severity of the of virus and told us it was completely under control.

Anita McGinnis

Biden is complicit by the fact that his son Hunter has taken millions of dollars from China.. Hunter is, because of the contents of his laptop, vulnerable to blackmail. There is a recent video out with the Chinese leader saying that he has friends in government circles. China wants Biden in- power. The media has suppressed a lot of essential information because they prefer to be political. Don't worry about Trump. Worry about the Chinese Communist Party.

Gerald Joyce

I'm sure the 273k + Americans who have died from Covid are also grateful that Fr Brito apologized. Won't be long before our Manchurian Candidate Elect apologizes also. Even the Japanese and the Germans weren't able to destroy our economy like this. as an aside, it appears the virus is really reducing the ranks of the elderly. About 79% of all deaths attributed to Covid are 60 years and older per the CDC.

Lucas Lujan

Please Gerald, you are overwhelming their brains.

Randall Finley

We should all be so grateful that this lesson in doxxing for right think has been successful. Now, we know just how to treat everyone who uses a word we do not like!

Khal Spencer

Good for Father Larry.

Larry Brito

"Dear community of Santa Fe, On Saturday November 28th I composed a quick memo to the parishioners of St. Anne stating that I had been exposed to COVID-19.

With a lack of prudential judgment, I referred to the exposure as “the China/Corona Virus”. I am not apologizing because I wish to be “politically correct”, or because I was asked by a higher authority, but rather as I discerned, with the input of a few brave souls, (who shared dialog with me to help me understand how this way of referencing to the virus can be hurtful and even harmful to Chinese Americans (and to people of Chinese descent)). I apologize to anyone who was or may have been affected by those miss-written words.

God bless you all and may his peace reign forever in your hearts.

Viva Cristo Rey, Rev. Larry R. Brito , St. Anne Santa Fe"

That was my full reply to the Editor. I bend the knee for Christ a lone.

mark Nickson

Reverend brito, you are from Las Vegas, nm, like most my family. You know better but misspoke, likely because you got caught up in d. trump's Maga movement and all the connected rhetoric. But it's just that, political rhetoric. Dems do the same thing, my brother. And who really cares where cv19 virus evolved? It's here and now entire world, including your parish, must deal with it. Be part of solution, not the problem. Even if that means parish prayer--sometimes that's about all we can do.

Khal Spencer

Thank you, Father Brito.

Lucas Lujan

One question for you: Does God hate a lie? Proverbs 12:22

“Lying lips are abomination to the LORD: but they that deal truly are his delight.”

John Martinez

Reverand Brito, you are a huge inspiration in how you have dealt with this matter and people should take note in how you humbled yourself and your spirit in apologizing for your "lack of judgement". We will continue to support you 100 percent!!

Lucille Armijo

Larry Brito, your extremely judgemental sermons, right wing rhetoric about pro-life, and your inability to show respect to your ushers during mass, by yelling at them like children when they do something wrong, is the reason my husband and I left St. Anne's Parish and the Catholic Church and haven't looked back since. Oh wait, I forgot, technically my husband is not my husband in the eyes of the church because, according to you, Larry Brito, not having children invalidates my marriage. You have confirmed our decision to walk away and take our money with us.

Anita McGinnis

Viva Cristo Rey!

Daniel Mathews

Dare I postulate that the archbishop had a talk with this racist, xenophobic priest?

Johnny Duran

Shame on you Brito, for bending the knee. Only God knows what is in your heart and you succumbed to earthly pressure. How can we believe and keep faith in you?

Larry Brito

Have faith in God alone.

HRH Prince Michael Jauregui

AMEN, brother Larry! May you be blessed with Health and Comfort - In The Most Blessed and Benevolent Name of The Christ King Yeshua, I pray.

Emily Hartigan

Amen.

Gene Hill

Father Brito I appreciate that sentiment and I will always have faith in God, but when I see the my ancestral church being so severely politicized it shakes my faith in that institution. I sincerely hope you have learned from this episode.

Carlos Vasquez

[thumbup] leaves most'a'youz out!

Welcome to the discussion.

Thank you for joining the conversation on Santafenewmexican.com. Please familiarize yourself with the community guidelines. Avoid personal attacks: Lively, vigorous conversation is welcomed and encouraged, insults, name-calling and other personal attacks are not. No commercial peddling: Promotions of commercial goods and services are inappropriate to the purposes of this forum and can be removed. Respect copyrights: Post citations to sources appropriate to support your arguments, but refrain from posting entire copyrighted pieces. Be yourself: Accounts suspected of using fake identities can be removed from the forum.