Our Community. Our Nation. Our World.
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

Pope Francis Prays For George Floyd, Decries 'The Sin Of Racism'

In Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, Sister Quincy Howard protests the arrival of President Trump to the Saint John Paul II National Shrine in Washington.
In Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, Sister Quincy Howard protests the arrival of President Trump to the Saint John Paul II National Shrine in Washington.

Catholics cannot tolerate racism and also "claim to defend the sacredness of every human life," Pope Francis says, commenting on the upheaval that has followed the death of George Floyd in police custody.

The pope is urging the U.S. to reach a national reconciliation, after days of protests and violence.

"My friends, we cannot tolerate or turn a blind eye to racism and exclusion in any form and yet claim to defend the sacredness of every human life," the pope said on Wednesday.

He added, "At the same time, we have to recognize that 'the violence of recent nights is self-destructive and self-defeating. Nothing is gained by violence and so much is lost.' "

On Wednesday, Francis says, he is joining the faithful in Minneapolis and across the U.S. "in praying for the repose of the soul of George Floyd and of all those others who have lost their lives as a result of the sin of racism."

The prayers, he added, would be for consolation for their grieving families, and for reconciliation and peace.

In the pope's remarks about violent protests, he was quoting Archbishop José H. Gomez, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, who recently issued a statement condemning Floyd's death.

In that statement, Gomez asked, "How is it possible that in America, a black man's life can be taken from him while calls for help are not answered and his killing is recorded as it happens?"

With riots breaking out in many U.S. cities, Gomez cited America's most famous civil rights leader:

"It is true what Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, that riots are the language of the unheard. We should be doing a lot of listening right now."

The pope's message to the U.S. was part of his address during Wednesday's general audience at the Vatican. Here's the full text of that portion of his remarks:

"I greet the English-speaking faithful joining us through the media.

"Dear brothers and sisters in the United States, I have witnessed with great concern the disturbing social unrest in your nation in these past days, following the tragic death of Mr. George Floyd.

"My friends, we cannot tolerate or turn a blind eye to racism and exclusion in any form and yet claim to defend the sacredness of every human life. At the same time, we have to recognize that "the violence of recent nights is self-destructive and self-defeating. Nothing is gained by violence and so much is lost,"

"Today I join the Church in Saint Paul and Minneapolis, and in the entire United States, in praying for the repose of the soul of George Floyd and of all those others who have lost their lives as a result of the sin of racism. Let us pray for the consolation of their grieving families and friends and let us implore the national reconciliation and peace for which we yearn. May Our Lady of Guadalupe, Mother of America, intercede for all those who work for peace and justice in your land and throughout the world.

"May God bless all of you and your families. "

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.