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LETTER TO THE EDITOR — Community prayer calls us together in our diversity

Dear editor

My Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

“I can’t breathe!” These were the dying words of George Floyd, a black man, as he was pinned down, in handcuffs, with a white police officer’s knee on his neck.

No matter the color of the officer or the person being arrested, the action is inhumane. But, because the police officer was white and Mr. Floyd was black, it raises once again the ugliness of racism in our country — our country’s original sin. Though much progress has been made, we evidently still have much to do.

Action is needed now to counteract racism and injustice, but violence, looting and burning buildings are not the actions to be taken.

I am recalling Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s admonition, “Hate begets hate, violence begets violence.” That concept was vividly described in the Gospel of Matthew. As St. Peter draws a sword to defend our Lord, Jesus tells him, “Put your sword back in its sheath.”

That was not the time for the sword to be used — and neither is this the time.

Instead, our actions — yours and mine — should be a courageous call for justice, community prayer that calls us together in our diversity and honest dialogue so that we can have a more just society.

“People fail to get along because they fear each other; they fear each other because they don’t know each other; they don’t know each other because they have not communicated with each other.” – Dr. Martin Luther King

I join with my fellow Texas bishops in offering our prayers for Mr. Floyd, his family and friends, all those affected by his killing and the events that followed. Let us pray as well for the families of the police officers involved in Mr. Floyd’s death, for they are also hurting.

I ask you to pray for the Holy Spirit’s guidance as we approach Pentecost in order that we might work now to create a society where justice and peace are shared with all God’s children.

If you want peace, work for justice. — Pope Paul VI

Know each of you and our entire nation remain in my prayers.

Sincerely in Christ,

— Most Rev. Custis J. Guillory, bishop of Beaumont