Missouri's Catholic bishops issue statement on the death of George Floyd and its aftermath


The Roman Catholic bishops of Missouri have issued a statement in response to the death of George Floyd and its aftermath.

The statement, signed by Archbishop Robert J. Carlson of St. Louis, Bishop James V. Johnston Jr. of Kansas City-St. Joseph, Bishop W. Shawn McKnight of Jefferson City and Bishop Edward M. Rice of Springfield-Cape Girardeau, is as follows:

We, the Catholic bishops of Missouri, wish to express our anger and sadness at the senseless death of George Floyd.

This tragedy tears open a wound that hasn’t completely healed in Missouri following the death of Michael Brown. It also once again opens up our state and nation to unnecessary violence and destruction.

We wish to clearly state that we denounce police brutality in any form, especially in any form motivated by racism, or by a disregard for persons based upon the color of their skin. We also denounce violence and property destruction as a means of countering violence.

We must find a way to live peacefully together, respecting the racial and ethnic differences among us.

Racial and ethnic injustice continues to exist in our state and in our country, and we cannot turn a blind eye to it. We must ask ourselves what systemic changes are needed to address it. We must also honestly examine our hearts and ask God to eradicate any vestige of it that might lie there. We cannot do this on our own.

No human power can eradicate racism; we need the assistance of a higher power. We call upon Catholics and all people of good will to pray for an end to racism, bias, and prejudice within ourselves and within our communities.

Recalling the gift of Pentecost celebrated this past weekend, through which God sends the Holy Spirit to unite a scattered and divided human family, may the Holy Spirit guide us into all truth concerning the dignity of every human person, and may Jesus Christ gather us together into fellowship with the Father.

This weekend, we ask the Catholic pastors throughout the province of Missouri to include in their petitions at Mass, a prayer for racial harmony and an end to violence.