1A_Charleston_vigilToday, many people in the United States continue to grapple with the obscenity of evil delivered by the mass murder on June 17th of nine innocent men and women inside the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina. These were welcoming, faith-filled women and men gathered in a Bible study group who had welcomed a stranger to join them. Yet, once again, overt, racial hatred of African-Americans killed innocent men and women.


Stunned and grieving hearts were lifted up by the courage and depth of faith which compelled two of the victims’ family members to speak these words:

“I forgive you.”

We forgive the perpetrator.
Yet the killer is still among us.

Overt and covert racism is the killer, planted in the earth of these United States long ago with the arrival of the first African slaves. These men and women were brought unwillingly and in chains to the colony of Jamestown, Virginia, in 1619. Why? We all know this story, don’t we?  Yet, in 2015, most white Americans, as in 1619, continue to marginalize, devalue, and dehumanize African-Americans in particular. There are messages white America needs to hear from people of color. Engage in the dialogue.

We turn to you, O God of love, for You alone strengthen our courage to step forward. You are steadfast in your love and faithfulness. Give us the will to move forward and engage in solutions, to learn and act against the killer, racism, in these United States.

Some suggestions for action:

  • Read the Pastoral Letter: The Racial Divide in the United States, by the Most Reverend Edward K. Braxton of Belleville, IL, 2015
  • Read the USCCB Pastoral Letter: Confronting a Culture of Violence, 1994
  • Visit colorofchange.org. Read, choose an action, and sign the petition.
  • Write/Speak to your state and/or Members of Congress concerning racist legislation that restricts voter participation.
  • Continue to advocate for the actual removal of the Confederate flag from government property in South Carolina.

3 thoughts on “STATEMENT: Pax Christi USA official statement on the massacre in Charleston, S.C.

  1. You may be missing two points dealing with God and the sanctity of human life:
    The first is, why didn’t God stop it—the 2000 year old problem of the existence of God, all-knowing, all powerful, and all good–but the presence of evil. What is the explanation?
    The second is, to perceive and pursue the matter as a hate crime overlooks the fact that it is domestic terrorism and there are more than a few Americans, most with very conservative political beliefs, who are capable of doing such extreme actions against “government” with no concern for human life–e.g., Oklahoma City bombing. What can we do?

  2. Another statement? How about a Call to solidarity through pooling creative ideas to turn ourselves around and change our society and rebuild our country?

  3. Since March 2015, about 25 Houses of Worship in Essex County Massachusetts (north of Boston) have begun a process – Building Beloved Community. This summer begins our gathering stories of racial injustice. We are focusing on police treatment of people of color, racial disparities within the Lynn Police Dept., and advocating for the Justice Reinvestment Act, state legislation which greatly improves the Mass. Criminal Justice Systems, ends mass incarceration, and reinvests in education and job creation. Pax Christi Beverly, MA is a part of this.

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