Statement on Racial Violence in the U.S.

We at PCUSA join with all whose hearts and consciences are pierced with outrage from the deaths of yet two more African-American men killed by excessive police force in Louisiana and Minnesota.  And as the spiral of violence deepened last Thursday night in Texas with the killing and wounding of police officers at a peaceful rally aimed to elevate the call for justice it is time for prayer and national soul-searching.

In our vision statement, we at Pax Christi USA declare that “we are a Catholic peace and justice movement that seeks to model the Peace of Christ in our witness to the mandate of the nonviolence of the Cross.”  Our vision is “a more peaceful, just and sustainable world through the efforts of our members and in collaboration with other groups.”  The violent events of this past week are a challenge to our identity and to our vision.

We believe the U.S. is facing a crisis of spirituality – people avoiding silence and contemplation.  Noise, adventure, and excitement taking the center stage and leading to rash reactions.  We are facing a crisis of community – trust between citizens and police officers has eroded.

There are solid recommendations to improve policing and law enforcement through better psychological training, police-community relations, and a more balanced and diverse representation of the local population in the police ranks.

But we also are facing a crisis of racism and fear – political and media sources brand certain people as presumptive enemies.  Our uncivil political rhetoric, amplified by the media, reinforces the fear of whole groups of people:  young black men, Muslims, undocumented immigrants, members of the LGBTQ community.  This only serves to fan racism, bigotry and the “blaming of victims” of impoverishment and marginalization.

We need to reflect on the words of Martin Luther King, Jr. – “History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people.”

As a Pax Christi family we should challenge every parish in the U.S. to include Prayers of the Faithful petitions that will raise awareness of our crisis of spirituality, community and racism.  Here are some examples:

Let us pray for all organizations and individuals dedicated to bringing about racial harmony in our workplaces, parishes, communities and in our world; that they will be diligent in their duties and courageous in the face of the challenges and experiences they encounter in their work.

Lord in your mercy
Hear our prayer

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Let us pray for the courage to speak out in communities where racial tensions persist and blind so many to how we are all diminished as the body of Christ, when any form of racism or violence happens; that the Lord will help us to support the work of racial justice through our prayers, time, skills, talents and resources.

Lord in your mercy
Hear our prayer
 

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Let us pray for those who suffer from any form of institutional racism in our society, that God may strengthen them and change the hearts of those who discriminate against them.           

Lord in your mercy
Hear our prayer
           

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Let us pray for all those who speak out against the evil of racial discrimination and other forms of discrimination in our society that God may bless and make their work fruitful.  Let us also pray that as a country we never accept violence anywhere, at any time, against anyone, for any reason.           

Lord in your mercy
Hear our prayer

Also, to learn different strategies to end racial injustice and violence, please join us for The Pax Christi USA National Gathering, to be held August 12-14, 2016, in Baltimore, MD:  Building the Beloved Community:  Addressing the Signs of the Times with Bold Conversations Leading to Transformative Actions

Join us in achieving our vision of a more peaceful, just and sustainable world through our commitment to building an anti-racist, multicultural movement for justice and peace.

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