Catholic bishops, priests call on Americans to overcome ‘sin of racism’
WASHINGTON, D.C., June 22, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — After two weeks of horrific violence and destruction inflicted on urban communities following the death of George Floyd beneath the knee of a rogue policeman, the crystal clarity of Catholicism has shone as a bright beacon amid darkness and haze.
“For Americans of goodwill, the chaos and criminality transpiring in the name of George Floyd are absolutely baffling,” wrote Catholic Bill McGurn in his Main Street column at the Wall Street Journal.
“If justice for George Floyd is the goal, many cannot fathom how it makes any sense to trash already-vulnerable neighborhoods, kill other African-American men in the process, and destroy black-owned stores that, as former President Barack Obama just pointed out, may never come back,” wrote McGurn. “But it makes perfect sense if the goal is to indict America as fatally compromised by racism since birth. And if the mayhem provokes authorities such as Mr. Trump into further inflaming the situation, so much the better.”
“Those promoting — and manipulating — the violence aren’t interested in debate or facts, least of all those that might contradict their narrative about a war on unarmed black men by white police,” noted McGurn. “They are using the mayhem to shut down honest debate and bully anyone who dares offer the slightest criticism into confessing he speaks from a position of moral inferiority.”
The disturbing images of violence against policemen and civilians attempting to protect themselves and their property purposefully obscure the original intent of that first protest in Minneapolis. The Black Lives Matter (BLM) political movement has overlaid its Marxist demands on top of those initial worthy pleas for an end to the very real vestiges of racism in the U.S., while Antifa has simply sought to inject maximum anarchy.
While Antifa exists solely to create mayhem, BLM seeks to undermine biological families and human sexuality.
Among the group’s stated beliefs: “We disrupt the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure requirement,” and “We foster a queer‐affirming network. When we gather, we do so with the intention of freeing ourselves from the tight grip of heteronormative thinking.”
What’s a Catholic — or any Christian — to do in response to the tangled web of messages and demands?
“My advice to my students is the same as my advice to myself — and to everyone: Seek the truth,” wrote Professor Robert P. George, McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence at Princeton University and a leading Catholic voice, in a Facebook posting. “Speak the truth as best you understand it. Do not permit yourself to be bullied into silence. Do not allow yourself to be shamed into saying things you don't believe or expressing yourself inauthentically — by, for example, embracing movements or endorsing slogans about which you have reservations. Do not let fear of the mob or lust for acceptance or applause — or the desire to get ahead — dictate what you say and don’t say.”
Monsignor Charles Pope led a procession through the streets of Washington, D.C. as a means to gather for prayer those Catholics “who don’t want to have any politicization ... just pray and make reparation.”
“We’re a big Church, and we straddle political boundaries,” declared Msgr. Pope in an EWTN interview following the procession. “We wanted to come out in a very nonpartisan, nonpolitical way and just say, ‘We care for our brother’ and ‘We care for the fact that there is racism in this country.’”
“It’s gone on for a long time and it’s something we have to think about and repent of in our own life,” said Msgr. Pope.
“We also have to accept the fact that sometimes we’re victims of it, sometimes we’re perpetrators. We all need to pray and make reparation because it’s a community problem,” he added.
Amid #DCProtests over the death of #GeorgeFloyd yesterday, a rosary procession with #Catholic lay/religious in #DC prayed for healing from #racism. @MsgrPope says it’s “something that we have to think about and repent of in our own life...it’s a community problem” pic.twitter.com/YTKLIZDvtd— Mark Irons (@MarkIronsMedia) June 7, 2020
“As a nation, we abolished slavery legally, but we have not dealt with its enduring legacy,” said Boston’s Cardinal Sean O’Malley, OFM Cap. in a video message. “If we reject slavery, then we must reject and denounce the dehumanizing attitudes that foster discrimination, inequality, and violence.”
“Racism can be explicit, but it can also be unrecognized, unacknowledged,” explained O’Malley, “yet all of its manifestations are deadly and corrosive to civil society.”
Racism “is overcome by God, by His mercy. It is not our achievement,” said Phoenix bishop Thomas J. Olmsted in a homily last week, according to CNA. “We have a key part to play, in cooperation with His grace, but only God can change minds and hearts. That’s why the Sacraments of Confession and the Eucharist play such vital roles in overcoming the sin of racism.”
“While racism is a sinful act that prejudice, injustice, and lack of respect for human dignity brings about, racism also hides itself behind indifference,” added Olmsted.
Last Monday, Catholics in Washington, D.C., including about two dozen priests, gathered on the north side of Lafayette Park, opposite the White House, to rededicate themselves “to the defense of all life and recommit to an anti-racism agenda.”
LifeSiteNews spoke with several members of the clergy who participated in the event, and all were quick to differentiate between the violence displayed in nightly news reports and on social media and the righteous pleas to end racism.
Msgr. Raymond East, the black American pastor of Washington, D.C.’s St. Teresa of Avila Catholic Church, preached a heartfelt message, declaring, “The church has not affirmed loud enough that black lives matter. That’s why we are here.”
“Imagine if 64 million Catholics said, ‘Black lives matter,’” said East. “That would be a sea change in America. We’re not there yet. We’ve got work to do.”