El Paso (Agenzia Fides) - In an atmosphere of violence and generalized tension for the many demonstrations in different places in the United States for the death of George Floyd, in El Paso the Catholic faithful tried to express themselves differently. The Bishop of El Paso, Archbishop Mark Seitz, led a group of priests in a prayer vigil in memory of the man from Minneapolis. The priests observed a moment of silence and knelt for eight minutes and 46 seconds, the same amount of time that a police officer kneeled on Floyd's neck before he later died in custody, according to police records. In El Paso a large demonstration was announced at Memorial Park, but it was canceled, given the clashes that had already taken place in previous days.
Even the American Bishops expressed their thoughts: "The killing of George Floyd was senseless and brutal, a sin that cries out in heaven for justice. How is it possible that in America the life of a black man can be taken away while requests for help are not answered and his killing is being recorded?", said Mgr. José H. Gomez, Archbishop of Los Angeles and president of the United States Bishops' Conference, in a statement released yesterday.
"The cruelty and violence suffered does not, however, reflect what most good men and women who work in law enforcement are, who carry out their duties with honor. We know that. And we trust that the civil authorities will investigate carefully and do justice", underlines the note.
"Racism has been tolerated for too long", continues the text. "This time we have to listen to what people say through their pain" but "the recent violence is self-destructive. Nothing is gained by violence and so much is lost". "Burning and looting communities, ruining the livelihoods of our neighbors, does not advance the cause of racial equality and human dignity. We should not say that George Floyd died for no reason. We should honor the sacrifice of his life by removing racism and hatred from our hearts and renewing our commitment to fulfill the sacred promise of our nation: to be a community loved by life, freedom and equality for all", concludes the president of the American Bishops' Conference.
Already on Saturday 30 May, the presidents of seven Commissions of the United States Bishops' Conference had declared solidarity with the black communities of the country, asking for an investigation that would lead to truth and justice. (CE) (Agenzia Fides, 2/6/2020)