Statement on the Death of George Floyd and Nationwide Protests

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“I share the following sentiments of my brother U.S. Bishops: “We are broken-hearted, sickened, and outraged to watch another video of an African American man being killed before our very eyes.” The tragic and senseless death of George Floyd in Minneapolis last week, like that of Ahmaud Arbery this past February in Georgia, reminds us that the vile evil of racism still persists in our nation.

Racism is a pervasive social evil that we must be committed to fighting and eradicating wherever we find it, in ourselves and in society. It is antithetical to our Christian faith which proclaims the dignity of every human person created in the image and likeness of God.

In many cities across our nation, including in Fort Wayne and South Bend, people have gathered to rightly protest the killing of George Floyd and the injustices suffered by African-Americans in our country. Sadly, violence has broken out at protests in many places. Rioting and looting only cause further injustice. Violence solves nothing and causes further harm.

Substantive changes are needed in our society to eradicate racism and racial injustice, beginning with a commitment to respect for the life and God-given dignity of every human person. Let us pray that God will heal our society and help our nation to put an end to the destructive evil of racism and an end to violence in our communities.

I am asking our priests to offer the special ‘Mass for the Preservation of Peace and Justice’ on a day this week. Let us pray for the eternal repose of the soul of George Floyd, for his family, for all victims of racial injustice, and for the many good men and women in law enforcement who serve with honor and who respect the human dignity of all whom they serve.”

Most Reverend Kevin C. Rhoades
Bishop of Fort Wayne-South Bend