DATE: August 14, 2017
RE: Charlottesville Violence
FROM: Most Reverend John O. Barres, Bishop, Diocese of Rockville Centre
Over the past few days, our nation has been forced to confront the evil effects of racism. The violence in Charlottesville did not develop in that moment or in one day. Rather the seeds of Saturday’s tragedy had been planted long before, going back far in the history of our nation. We can look upon last Saturday’s tragedy with a sense of great sadness and defeat. Or we can look at these events with the vision the Paschal Mystery brings us - a vision of healing, a vision of new life.
The measure of our commitment to the Gospel will shine forth in the days and weeks to come. The Catholic Church believes and teaches that every human life is sacred. It is my prayer that the tragedies in Charlottesville will inspire each one of us to an examination of conscience that will help us better recognize our role in bringing about and restoring that dignity and sanctity in our world, nation and local communities, particularly here in the Diocese of Rockville Centre.
We know, too, that this reflection can only happen after a full examination of our own hearts. Let us pray that the Lord may help each one of us to see “what we have done and what we have failed to do.”
On this feast of St. Maximillian Kolbe, one whose life was offered during the Holocaust on behalf of another, let us seek his intercession for the prayerful reflection and courage we need to be a more powerfully a people of compassion, mercy and justice.