Meet the priest who's "one of the most dangerous people in town"

Meet the priest who's "one of the most dangerous people in town" May 29, 2011

And he’s been called that because of ardently pro-Catholic letters he writes for the hometown newspaper in Minnesota.

From the Duluth News Tribune:

Every 30 days or so he and his opinions are published in the letters to the editor section of the News Tribune. He’d be in more often if we let him, no doubt, if we didn’t insist writers wait at least a month between submissions to give others a chance to have their words read.

For half a century, Father Richard Partika — “Father Dick,” to his friends — has been writing, and sometimes ranting, to the paper, making his a household name across the Northland and leaving him with a reputation as a fiery, never-back-down individual.

Or as something less polite: “Partika is one of the most dangerous people in this town,” an angry newspaper reader once wrote in an e-mail that found its way back to Partika.

So just who is he, the man behind all those letters?

I know I’ve wondered, especially after once being told Partika grew up in a Duluth orphanage. In March, when Partika announced in a letter (how else?) that he was suffering the early stages of dementia, I requested an interview.

He met me in the lobby of the Westwood Apartment building, a commanding brick structure at the southwestern end of the College of St. Scholastica campus. A four-room apartment has been his home there since June 2000. He has it decorated with religious statues and with photocopies of old family pictures that he tacked to the walls. Piles of papers cluttered most flat surfaces, including near his well-worn typewriter.

I sat down. The homily began.

Read the rest. It’s a remarkable story.

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2 responses to “Meet the priest who's "one of the most dangerous people in town"”

  1. God bless Father Partika. The Church is now encouraging people to use the electronic media to spread the Church’s message. But before the electronic media, the print media were an important means of communication, and — as important as the Catholic press has been — many people learn about the Church through the secular. So it is important that misrepresentations and misunderstandings of the Church and its teachings be corrected. Fr. Partika was engaging in an important ministry.

  2. Thank you for posting this. And God bless the reporter for seeking out Father Partika for an interview.

    His early life in the orphanage is interesting. The nuns and priests took such good care of him. So much has changed in our country.

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