by Carol Zimmerman, The Catholic Hearld
The scenes of chaos and violence in Ferguson, Missouri, following the grand jury’s decision not to indict the white police officer in the shooting death of Michael Brown, an African-American teenager, reveal deeper issues going on in the country, said one of the U.S.’s black Catholic bishops.
“The racial divide that exists between blacks and whites is not addressed adequately except when tragedies such as this happen,” said retired Bishop John H. Ricard of Pensacola-Tallahassee, Florida, who is president of the National Black Catholic Congress.
The smashed windows, lootings, and the starting of car and building fires when the grand jury’s decision was announced were “part of a cycle of violence that is going to continue spiraling,” he added.
The reactions also went against the Brown family’s wishes to keep “protests peaceful.”
In a statement, the family urged the public to channel their “frustration in ways that will make a positive change. We need to work together to fix the system that allowed this to happen.”
When asked what can be done to work toward this “positive change,” particularly by the Catholic community, the bishop said Catholics should return to the passion many of them showed during the civil rights movement.
“We need to rekindle that commitment and not be so silent and only react when there is a great tragedy that forces us to,” he said November 25 from St Joseph’s Seminary in Washington where he is rector for the Josephites, the order founded to serve newly freed slaves in the United States and now ministers in African-American communities….