by Johnny Zokovitch
Executive Director, Pax Christi USA

For me as a Catholic, the image below – taken by a photojournalist at the rally at the White House just prior to the mob violence at the U.S. Capitol – was perhaps the most disturbing. (Note especially the “Stop the Steal” button worn by the sister in the middle.)

What is so disturbing is that I know what a role many in our Church  bishops and priests, influential lay leaders, Catholic organizations, Catholic media outlets, blogs, and others  played in setting the table for what happened on January 6th at the U.S. Capitol. Too many within our Church were responsible for enabling this president, either by looking the other way and excusing his behavior or actively cultivating the lies, misogyny, racism, and division to benefit their own agendas. And the violence of January 6th was the all-too-predictable result.

In Fratelli Tutti, Pope Francis wrote, “… We are called to love everyone, without exception; at the same time, loving an oppressor does not mean allowing him to keep oppressing us, or letting him think that what he does is acceptable. On the contrary, true love for an oppressor means seeking ways to make him cease his oppression; it means stripping him of a power that he does not know how to use, and that diminishes his own humanity and that of others.”

As we approach the inauguration this week, all of us – Catholics in every capacity within our Church, people of faith throughout our movement – need to unequivocally speak out and rebuke the lies about election fraud or any other claim that suggests the election of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris was illicit in any way. Too many people, too many Catholics, embraced Trump’s lie. Violence aimed at dismantling the will of the people as determined through a fair and free election is unconscionable. Such violence undermines the most basic rights deriving from our common humanity and demanded by respect for human dignity – and sadly, predictably, led to loss of life – five people dead. The way that the crowd on January 6 was allowed to easily enter and swarm the U.S. Capitol was a blatant, grotesque demonstration of the power of white privilege. Furthermore, it drove home the point that Fr. Bryan Massingale made in his reflection on the day of the riot: that many in our country would rather live under a white dictatorship than in a multiracial democracy.

Again in Fratelli Tutti, Pope Francis states that “no family, no group of neighbours, no ethnic group, much less a nation, has a future if the force that unites them, brings them together and resolves their differences is vengeance and hatred.”

Let this moment be the moment our Church unmistakably demonstrates that the gospel has no tolerance for the hatred, racism and lies which led to the violence at the U.S. Capitol and is being threatened throughout the land this week. Let us not be afraid to dig at the roots of the violence and division we are experiencing today  roots which extend back not 4 years but centuries deep into our history. And let this week be the moment when we, as a community of disciples to Jesus, motivated by his redemptive love, claim our vocation as truth-tellers, healers, reconcilers, and peacemakers.

With the resources in this week’s Pray-Study-Act e-bulletin, we invite you to move intentionally through this week, in prayer, study and action, as we approach the inauguration and, with hope, a new chapter in our nation’s history.

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PHOTO CREDIT: HEATHER KHALIFA / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER, THE PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER. SISTERS PICTURED ARE FROM THE DOMINICAN SISTERS OF THE IMMACULATE HEART OF MARY OF HARTLAND, MICHIGAN

12 thoughts on “This week, let us demonstrate what we stand for

  1. Remember that the percent of Catholics voting for Trump was not too different than for the entire U.S. population. This is sad. But this comparison shows that the Catholic vote was possibly swayed by money, political conservatism, the abortion issue overweighing the myriad of other pro-life issues, white supremacy, or just maybe genuinely being pro-Republican or anti-Democratic. I see the sisters as speaking from a non-religious viewpoint and NOT representing the Catholic/Christian viewpoint. Many in the religious hierarchy should also be seen this way and NOT be labelled as speaking for the Church. Pope Francis’ messages need to be proliferated to a greater extent. I hope that I don’t sound judgmental since all, including those we disagree with, are peacefully entitled to their own opinions-let us evolve in truly diverse and inclusive ways. Peace!

  2. Sad. Holy Father does not condone this. There’s quite a few new orders and churches being opened in the south to attain the money of the Catholic church, example was those boys harassing a Native American on the steps on the capitol mall. They ARE NOT true Catholics. The fact they are in habits shows they aren’t approved by the Holy SEE.

    1. Please reread that story about the youth and the Indigenous man in DC from a few years ago. It was more the other way around…though I, like you and many others, thought the boy with the MAGA hat was the instigator. I’m a faithful RC and feel the pain of our country being torn. DJT did some good while in office but his inability to lead all of us, to behave like a mature human being, has hurt this country. 🙏

  3. Where where they during the 13 federal executions that started happening in the Summer of 2020?

    Lisa Montgomery asked Papa Trump to spare her life. He did not do it.

    Is that pro-life or pro-lie?

    Based on the teachings I have received from the Catholic Church, Jesus Christ does not agree with these executions. Now, if he does, please tell me, and tell me that you (the Catholic Church) have lied to me and many others all throughout.

    Where were you during those 13 executions, Sisters? Are you prof-life or pro-lie?

  4. As a former member of the Sisters of Divine Providence for 23yrs. I know it is difficult to get all to agree on anything. The viewpoint of these sisters shown here represents them and maybe more from their congregation. Please know it does not stand for all sisters.
    Karen

  5. As a Catholic I am appalled I can’t imagine what their morales are but they are very different from mine

  6. I am very sad to see this picture. MOften it is the nuns within the Church who are the voice of moderation. Also the voice speaking for the poor and the people leading others in performing works of mercy.

  7. That picture made me feel physically ill. How any Catholic can support Trump is beyond my ability to understand. Pray for him to be enlightened by the Holy Spirit, yes certainly. But as he stands he makes me sick.

  8. Shortly after his inauguration, DJT became responsible for the killing of a “very pregnant’ woman and her unborn child along with a number of children and civilians in a botched military raid. As VP, Joe Biden shared responsibility for the killing of many more pregnant women as he supported the Obama administration’s unjust wars which continue today. I think DJT has done the greater damage to the US pro-life movement which has supported him despite his fascist, white supremacist, anti-environment policies. The US Catholic hierarchy has never taught with consistency the nonviolent life ethic that Jesus clearly teaches in the Gospel. 100 years ago in WWI, they supported Catholic participation in a war the US entered on Good Friday 1917, even after millions of baptized Christians had already killed and savaged each other in the war. Catholic bishops have not led us away from nationalism, militarism and war making. “Abortion is war to the unborn, war is an abortion.” (Fr. Dan Berrigan) Bishops will have to oppose both inseparable evils if they want to offer our society a faithful witness to the Gospel and follow our Holy Father more closely.

  9. priests were killed. nuns were raped and killed. This in Central America, all because our government liked the bad guys more than the good guys or the message Jesus. Now those killers and a man who adores their likes today have converted these nuns. Quite a feat. Where did they get radicalized?

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