What does it say about our society when even our priests are proudly declaring that they’re prepared to dispense lethal force?

Ann Arbor Catholic priest Ed Fride is in the news today for encouraging his parishioners at Christ the King Catholic Church to arm themselves. In a letter sent out this past weekend to his flock, Fride explained why he carried a weapon, and why the church would likely be hosting more CPL classes on their property at 4000 Ave Maria Drive. Pointing to an incident three years ago in which two individuals with a gun were apprehended outside Father Gabriel Richard High School in Ann Arbor, Fride urged his flock to accept that they were no longer living in “Mayberry,” and arm themselves accordingly.

“The fact that two active shooters got within yards of Father Gabriel Richard before they were taken down by SWAT demonstrates that the threat is real,” said Fride in his letter to parishioners. “This druggie couple from Detroit stole a car and it broke down at Plymouth and Dixboro. They went through the woods and had almost reached the high school when they were stopped… There is zero security at the high school. Had the shooters got in, we would have had our own Columbine.”

Fride then went on to address the concerns of those in the parish who said that they were afraid of carrying weapons. “Several people have said to me, I’m afraid of guns,” said Fride. “My response to one woman was, ‘Well, how do you feel about rape?’”

Leaving aside for a moment just how offensive and manipulative that is, and how laughably stupid it is to base one’s argument on the fact that two “druggies,” who just happened to have been in the area in 2012 due to the breakdown of a car, might have wanted to enter a high school and pull off a Columbine-type attack, I’m curious to know how this willingness to dole our lethal force jives with the notoriously pro-life church’s stance on the so-called “sanctity of life.” Maybe when they say “all life is precious” they just mean when it’s inside the womb. Or maybe “druggies” aren’t really alive in the same way that you and I are, and therefore deserving of God’s love. Regardless, I think, as a man of the cloth, I’d be particularly sensitive to the risks of playing God, but maybe Fride can differentiate, in a split second, those who are deserving of God’s forgiveness, from those who are better suited for the garbage heap.

And, for what it’s worth, it’s not just hyperbole when I pain tty picture of the good father gunning down perps. Fride has said in the past that, in the right situation, he would kill. “There were situations in which I would actively intervene,” Fide has said, “even to a lethal level if necessary.”

[note: Prior to being known as Christ the King, this charismatic Catholic church, long supported by Ypsilanti’s Tom Monaghan, was known as Word of God. The name change happened sometime after the church was investigated for the “cult-like” power it held over its conservative parishioners.]



If I’m understanding his logic, Fride seems to believe that, with more people arming themselves in Detroit, the criminal element residing there is having to venture further from home in order to find attractive targets, and, as demonstrated by a pair of “druggies” whose car broke down here in 2012, they seem to have settled upon Ann Arbor as their new hunting ground. And we need to be prepared to kill them before they kill us, just like Jesus taught. [He said in his letter that killing people under the right circumstances is not against Biblical doctrine.]

Here, with more background on Fride is a clip from the Detroit Free Press.

Fride’s friend, Jay McNally, said the priest is a beloved pastor, a martial arts practitioner whose sermons bring parishioners to tears.

“It is a rare day that one finds a priest so well-loved by parishioners at every level – the old folks, the young folks,” said McNally, a former editor of the Detroit archdiocese’s Michigan Catholic newspaper and conservative Catholic activist who is the director of the Ypsilanti-based Citizens Alliance for Life and Liberty.

McNally said Fride has served at the parish for about 20 years, and also was the chaplain for young men considering the priesthood at Ave Maria College, when the college started by Domino’s Pizza founder and traditional Catholic activist Tom Monaghan was located in Ann Arbor. Christ the King Parish has strong ties to traditional, conservative Catholics.

“He’s a priest factory,” said McNally, describing Fride’s service as an inspiration to many young men considering the priesthood.

“Father Ed quite frequently travels around the country and to be the chaplain for people in the military who die in service,” said McNally. “He’s in high demand for that.”

“This whole gun thing is kind of new. He has become very vocal about it,” said McNally. “There isn’t a phony bone in him.

In his letter, Fride explained how he grew up a Pacifist and was a conscientious objector during the Vietnam War. He converted to Catholicism. He wrote that he veered away from pacifism when he asked himself questions of “what would Jesus do” were he to come across women and children being harmed.

“I eventually concluded that I was certainly no longer a pacifist absolutist,” wrote Fride. “There were situations in which I would actively intervene, even to a lethal level if necessary.”

As an aside, it’s kind of funny how people “veer away from pacifism” when they’re no longer in danger of being drafted to fight in Vietnam, isn’t it?

And one more thing, if you didn’t already dislike this man for coercing his congregation into arming themselves by pointing to the existence of Detroit “druggies” who want to carry out Columbine-like attacks against their kids, and telling them that they’d likely be raped if they didn’t buy weapons, here’s one more thing to consider. He started his letter to parishioners with the following… “We’re not in Mayberry Anymore, Toto.” As terrible as guns are, I think we can all agree that mixed metaphors are worse, right?

UPDATE: The following came in from a reader of this site early this morning.

My family still actively attends Christ the King parish, and father Ed was the priest who baptized me. But I’m fairly certain that he’s cracked, and a lot of the stuff I hear about him is pretty disturbing.

In his original sermon, before he wrote the mass email, he specifically mentioned the fact that Dearborn was only a few minutes away, and dropped the term “jihadist” as a reason to be armed. His parish is not a territorial parish, it’s like a “satellite” parish, so everyone who goes there makes a conscious decision to do so, rather than just attending because it’s close by. He has a lot of influence over the parishioners there. It is, like you made note of, very cultish. They also have the highest percentage of men of any Catholic church in the US who become priests. They single-handedly keep the diocese of Lansing afloat with clergy. And you probably won’t be surprised that the public school open carry guy Josh Wade is a life-long member of this parish. The news didn’t pick up on that fact. Another interesting tidbit about this story — the cop who is actually teaching these CPL class that fr. Ed is encouraging, well he was in that video of the Detroit man being subdued and beaten by Inkster police. That specifically aggravates me, because that’s the cop who gave him all the stats on crime spilling into Ypsi from Detroit.

Anyway, the whole story has been upsetting because it’s affected and divided a lot of people I know, so I wanted to put the truth out there. Undoubtedly we’ll be seeing more Josh Wades in the future, ready at a moment’s notice to escalate a situation with deadly force.

Hopefully folks in the local press do some digging into what’s going on at Christ the King.

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  1. Bob Krzewinski
    Posted April 22, 2015 at 10:25 pm | Permalink

    I am almost positive this is the same “man of god” who confronted myself and other veterans at the Veterans For Peace booth at an Ann Arbor Art Fair. He told us how our organization would be responsible for the death of the oppressed in the world because if we had our “way”, they could not “defend” themselves against enemies. When asked if Jesus would take up arms, he stated that Jesus would “protect the innocent”. All in all the guy sounded like a first class pompous ass.

  2. Posted April 23, 2015 at 12:35 am | Permalink

    He should be defrocked.

  3. stupid hick
    Posted April 23, 2015 at 1:03 am | Permalink

    Check out a recent HBO documentary about the so-called Patriot movement, “We the People / Countdown to Extinction”. These are people who think they are good guys with guns, however they are delusional and dangerous. The kind of people who don’t understand that gun free zones are not to deter criminals, but to deter THEM from putting everyone’s safety at risk. Totally delusional.

  4. anonymous
    Posted April 23, 2015 at 5:27 am | Permalink

    And he’s cranking out new priests in his likeness.

  5. Eel
    Posted April 23, 2015 at 7:32 am | Permalink

    The Catholic Church is probably just happy to have a priest that it’s buggering the children.

  6. JM
    Posted April 23, 2015 at 8:18 am | Permalink

    He’s also Facebook friends with white supremacists and sometimes shares stuff from white supremacist Facebook pages. I also went to a wedding that he officiated, and part of the wedding sermon was him talking about how most Muslims are terrorists…

  7. Brainless
    Posted April 23, 2015 at 8:33 am | Permalink

    Well, if it’s any consolation at all, his bosses in Lansing at least behind closed doors must have given him a half-decent smackdown. The weapons classes at the church were immediately cancelled and the priest has shut the fuck up about the whole thing.

  8. Milovachan
    Posted April 23, 2015 at 8:34 am | Permalink

    As someone who actually went to FGRHS, I can tell you the guy’s kind of obviously crazy. Taking theology classes (for a religion I didnt belong to) for 6 years straight actually wasn’t that bad until about my junior year when he started coming around and a decidedly far more fundamentalist tone began to pervade the high school’s ideological rhetoric.

    That all being said, I think in response to the accompanying question of “why isn’t he being admonished”, Mark, is that he is- I checked out his Facebook page and his first publicly viewable post is as follows:

    “I would like to make the following statement in relationship to the CPL controversy currently in the media:

    The Lord Jesus has blessed us greatly in calling Bishop Earl Boyea to serve us as the fifth Bishop of Lansing. I have been and continue to be very grateful for his ministry, especially his great work in leading the Diocese in the fulfillment of the Holy Fathers’ call to the New Evangelization that all people would hear the message of the saving love of the Lord Jesus Christ. As our Bishop, he is responsible for setting policy for our parishes and he has decided and publically stated that CPL classes are not appropriate on Church property. That is his call to make and we will obviously follow his policy on this and on all decisions he makes as he shepherds this Diocese. No parish is an island unto itself and no priest operates on his own. I am his priest and I will continue to serve him to the best of my ability.”

    Fr. Ed Fride”

  9. anonymous
    Posted April 23, 2015 at 10:23 am | Permalink

    There’s nothing worse than Christian persecution by other Christians.

  10. Former Parishioner
    Posted April 23, 2015 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

    As another former parishioner- yes, this is all true, this man has absolutely gone mental.

    He baptized me, administered my first communion, all of that good stuff. Happy to say I am now a non-believer.

    At some point after I stopped going he slowly became more militant, grew a crazy beard, and became a world class Islamophobe. The church itself is, and has always been, a giant cult. If you look at the old families in the parish, those that were there for its origin as The Word of God, all of the folks who were kids back then have issues.

    I’m so happy to see this finally seeing the light of day and showing people what goes on in this place. For the safety of the congregation I hope that the Bishop removes him and sends him off somewhere for the therapy he so desperately needs.

  11. Former Parishioner
    Posted April 23, 2015 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

    It’s also important to note that in his message to the parish about the Bishop’s statement he never once apologizes or admits fault. The seeds of dissent have been sown, its only a matter of time now before the schism grows wider and more violent.

  12. Jules
    Posted April 23, 2015 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

    Does anyone know how old Fride is? I’m just curious because to me, he looks about mid-fifties. Obviously, I could be completely wrong but the draft ended in 1973 and I find his CO status a bit fishy. He just doesn’t look old enough to have been eligible. It’s not a big deal but it’s piquing my curiosity.

  13. Maria Huffman
    Posted April 23, 2015 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

    What does it say about the Catholic Church? is the question that comes to my mind.

  14. Steve Pickard
    Posted April 23, 2015 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

    Fride is 60. Christ the King is basically the core source of old school Ann Arbor Catholic fundamentalism. Ann arbor has actually a rich…or troubling…history of Christian fundamentalism movements over the years… I’ve worked in informal deprogramming with several individuals negatively impacted by the fundamentalist Catholic movement… Basically the old Tom Monaghan cult which Fride is part of..and the other big one, the Word of God on Ann arbors westside. Its definitely a shadow history of our area…I’d like to research further.

  15. Steve Pickard
    Posted April 23, 2015 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

    Word of God has a big Wikipedia entry if anyone is bored and wants to read up.

  16. EOS
    Posted April 23, 2015 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

    Our country was founded by persons of faith who took up arms to defend their families against an oppressive government. It is a responsible choice to take classes to learn how to properly handle a firearm to be prepared in the event that you are forced to defend yourself. You don’t need to know how to use a weapon as long as you are willing to be the victim of any random aggressor.

  17. Kjc
    Posted April 23, 2015 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

    You should look up random. And then willing.

    Batshit Christians.

  18. Maria Huffman
    Posted April 23, 2015 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

    Well, at least this priest said what he really thought.

  19. John Galt
    Posted April 23, 2015 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

    Well, how do you feel about getting raped? If you don’t want a gun, you must really want to be raped. Am I right?

  20. Maria Huffman
    Posted April 23, 2015 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

    ? Are you a priest, too?

  21. Posted April 23, 2015 at 8:23 pm | Permalink

    It’s bad enough that he actually used the word “druggie” like it’s 1985 (fun fact! In 1985, I wrote a great short story called “Druggies Don’t Cry”…it was pretty amazing, esp. the part where I had the girl snort marijuana. Yes, I really had no idea), but asking someone, “Well how do you feel about rape?” Seriously? What the hell does this guy say in Confession, I wonder?

    Now I want to go to confession and see what happens!

  22. Maria Huffman
    Posted April 24, 2015 at 4:44 am | Permalink

    Um, Teacherpatti, people go to confession to confess their sins and then feel better..

  23. Posted April 24, 2015 at 6:07 am | Permalink

    I’m sure that if one went to this guy, one would feel worse.

  24. Posted April 24, 2015 at 7:05 am | Permalink

    I looked at his Facebook page. For a priest, he sure is full of judgement and violence.

  25. Frosted Flakes
    Posted April 24, 2015 at 10:09 am | Permalink

    I think religious leaders should promote people to act in a way that, although wildly unrealistic, resembles the actions of citizens of heaven on earth. Has this priest given up on the idea of perpetual peace? If so, he needs to do some soul searching like most of the rest of us.

  26. Paranoid Fuck
    Posted April 24, 2015 at 11:05 am | Permalink

    “he sure is full of judgement…”

    Unlike all of you enlightened folks.

  27. Concerned Reader
    Posted April 24, 2015 at 11:11 am | Permalink

    What if someone aborted a fetus that if not aborted would’ve grown up to rape somebody and later on been shot dead by Father Fride in self defense?

  28. Concerned Reader
    Posted April 24, 2015 at 11:16 am | Permalink

    Seems from looking at his FB page, the good father Fride had a whale of time deciding his vocation in life…”Navy SEAL? Or Catholic Priest?”….Maybe his eyesight wasn’t good enough for the SEALs.

  29. Maria Huffman
    Posted April 24, 2015 at 11:18 am | Permalink

    That’d be something, Concerned Reader. It also is very unlikely.

  30. Maria Huffman
    Posted April 24, 2015 at 11:36 am | Permalink

    I was Concerned Citizen, referring to your penultimate post.

  31. Lynne
    Posted April 24, 2015 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

    In a way, I think this shows just how easy it is a twist a religious doctrine to fit one’s own agenda. I know some peaceful hippy types who are Catholic and they are pro-life in the sense that they are against war and don’t think it is ok to shoot people but they aren’t interested in making abortions and birth control illegal. They spend their time volunteering for various Catholic charities that really do good work for the poor instead of trying to scare wealthy white parishioners into fearing them so much that they run out and get guns.

    I’ll bet this church is mad as hell about the new pope.

  32. Lynne
    Posted April 24, 2015 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

    Anyways. I wish people could have a little more courage and not feel the need to arm themselves.

  33. Concerned Reader
    Posted April 24, 2015 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

    Marie, Rape and Jihadi attacks are also a rather “unlikely” events, statistically, but that didn’t stop Father Fride from staying up all night worrying about those things and writing a long scary letter about them.

    Never say never. Fride needs to be ever vigilant for that unaborted potential rapist…

  34. Steve Pickard
    Posted April 24, 2015 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

    I find it funny that Fr. Fride has a Facebook group…”Fride’s Folks” (https://www.facebook.com/groups/2221871528/) …that describes him as such:

    For anyone who has ever been described as “ah, you’re one of Fride’s (Fr. Eds).” Or similar. Or anyone who wants to be affiliated with Fr. Ed in some way shape or form on facebook, because Fr. Ed is awesome. (And yes you would be surprised how many people know of Fr. Ed in strange corners of the world.)

    Fr. Ed is a Roman Catholic Priest, he rides a Harley, he is a first degree black belt in Tae Kwon Doe, which he teaches at his school, he has a student’s pilot’s license, he has graduated 3-5 times from college (where he has been getting degrees for the last 35 years), his birthday is the day before the Solemnity of the Annunciation, and he has recently celebrated his 20th anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood. Go Fr. Ed!!”

    Here’s the kicker: the group has exactly… 1 (one) …member. And guess who? It’s Father Ed Fride!

  35. Maria Huffman
    Posted April 24, 2015 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

    I find it rather unusual, to say the least, a Catholic priest would host CPL classes for parishioners. But then I find the commercials on the radio for the gun stores unsettling as well as the billboards that advertise firearms for the whole family. Strange times we live in, here in Michigan.

  36. Frosted Flakes
    Posted April 24, 2015 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

    CR, Rape and attempted rape are actually somewhat common, unfortunately. I am not saying arming oneself with a gun is the solution to the problem, however.

  37. Maria Huffman
    Posted April 24, 2015 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

    FF, I believe CR communicated that with the italics around the word unlikely already…

  38. Posted August 17, 2016 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

    I attended Christ The King and did not experience the protective hand of Father Friede. A contemplative priest offered to pick-up my daughter for a vocational retreat. I felt that this so called priest was a bit strange so I asked Father Friede about him. Apparently, this priest went to see Father Ed regularly for spiritual direction. Father Ed felt the priest to be “very holy.” The priest also claimed to be a psychiatrist. Following my gut instinct I researched this priest only to discover that he was neither a priest or a psychiatrist. When I went to Father Ed Friede with this he barely reacted…Finally I demanded that this be looked into. A year later the man named Gerald Henn attended CTK in lay clothes. I discovered that nothing was done about this.

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