A Spiritual Message In The Wake Of Charlottesville

We have all heard about what happened in Charlottesville, Va. White supremacists gathered in large numbers to spread their message and clashed with counter protesters. A woman was killed and more than a dozen others were injured when a man intentionally drove his car into a group of people speaking out against the white nationalist rally. Two Virginia State Troopers died when their helicopter crashed as they were performing surveillance during the rally.

I wanted to share the words of Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin, the Archbishop of Newark, which he released the Monday after the violence. It’s a spiritual message, not political. It calls attention to our obligations as mature Christians.

Cardinal Tobin’s statement is so much different than what we’ve seen on TV and in the news since the events transpired. I want to share it with everyone in its entirety:

The one and a half million Catholic men, women and children of the Archdiocese of Newark – people who trace their roots to every continent of the world and represent every race and ethnicity – view with horror the recent events in Charlottesville and condemn the racism and vicious rhetoric that contributed to this tragic moment in our nation’s history. We stand in prayer and solidarity with all people of good will and we witness to our Christian calling to “love your enemies…that you may be children of your heavenly Father” (Mt. 5:44-45).

In the wake of her daughter’s brutal death, the mother of Heather Heyer told reporters in Charlottesville that “hate cannot fix the world. Hate only creates more hate.” We join her in rejecting the brutality that killed her child, contributed to the deaths of two Virginia State Troopers and left dozens injured. While we denounce such violence, we also call for a thorough examination of racial bigotry and intolerance in the light of reason and love. “For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come toward the light, so that his works might not be exposed” (Jn 3:20). Dark words and deeds must be met with light and love.

It’s rare in my priesthood that I would quote the archbishop verbatim, but I really think this statement was too good not to.

by Monsignor William J. Linder 
September 2017

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