How long, O LORD, must I cry for help and you do not listen? Or cry out to you, “Violence!” and you do not intervene?
Why do you let me see iniquity?
Why do you simply gaze at evil?
Destruction and violence are before me; there is strife and discord. (Habakkuk 1: 2-3)
Once again, the wound of racism in our society has been exposed because of what appears to be careless and irresponsible behavior by persons whom we should trust to keep peace and encourage non-violence: law enforcement officers and public officials.
The National Commission of Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation of the Secular Franciscan Order in the United States, hereby declares that racism is morally wrong. It does not love or respect life. Neither Scripture, our Rule of Life nor our faith justifies it, for any reason, or under any circumstance.
Our Catholic social teaching calls us to respect and honor the dignity of every human life, from the womb to natural death. It makes no exclusions on the basis of color or ethnicity and calls out no other distinction to be excluded. We are called to honor and respect the lives of people we love and people whom we may find it hard to love; people who are like us and people who are different from us.
The deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and so many others each have their tragic and brutal circumstances, but share a central question that cannot be ignored: If they had been white, and the circumstances were identical, would they be alive?
As Catholic Christians and Franciscans, we owe it to ourselves to do the following in response to racism: