Archbishop Gregory condemns presidential visit to St John Paul II Shrine

Archbishop Wilton D Gregory

Archbishop Wilton D Gregory

Source: Archdiocese of Washington

Washington Archbishop Wilton D Gregory issued the following statement regarding the planned visit today from the president at the Saint John Paul II National Shrine:

I find it baffling and reprehensible that any Catholic facility would allow itself to be so egregiously misused and manipulated in a fashion that violates our religious principles, which call us to defend the rights of all people even those with whom we might disagree. Saint Pope John Paul II was an ardent defender of the rights and dignity of human beings. His legacy bears vivid witness to that truth. He certainly would not condone the use of tear gas and other deterrents to silence, scatter or intimidate them for a photo opportunity in front of a place of worship and peace.

Archbishop Gregory will participate in an Online Dialogue with the Initiative on Catholic Social Thought and Public Life at Georgetown University this Friday, June 5, from 12 noon - 1 p.m. EDT to discuss "Racism in Our Streets and Structures - A Test of Faith, A Crisis for Our Nation."

More detailed information and registration for this Zoom discussion here:

On Sunday, May 31, Washington Archbishop Wilton Gregory released this statement on the Memorial Day death of George Floyd:

In astonishment, we are seeing the reactions of people across the United States as they express feelings of frustration, hurt, and anger in their cry for justice for George Floyd, whom we painfully watched being suffocated in front of our eyes on video in Minneapolis, Minnesota this past week.

Many of us remember similar incidents in our history that accompanied the Civil Rights Movement, where we repeatedly saw Black Americans viciously brutalized by police on television and in newspaper photos. Those historic moments helped to rouse our national conscience to the African American experience in the United States and now, in 2020, we tragically still see repeated incidents of police brutality against African Americans. We find ourselves in this national moment again with the awakening of our conscience by heartbreaking photos and video that clearly confirm that racism still endures in our country. On television and in social media, we are observing an overflow of pain felt acutely in the African American community and shared by too many other communities.

Moments like this cause people of good will, who believe in the value, respect and dignity of every human life, to wonder if and how we can move on from here. The horror of George Floyd's death, like all acts of racism, hurts all of us in the Body of Christ since we are each made in the image and likeness of God, and deserve the dignity that comes with that existence.

This incident reveals the virus of racism among us once again even as we continue to cope with the coronavirus pandemic.

Pax Christi USA said in a statement: 'Several hundred people turned out to witness for peace and racial justice as a counter to the president's visit to the shrine. Pax Christi USA members and staff joined with many partner organizations to speak up against the president's words, tone and policies that stand in direct opposition to the gospel of Jesus. The peaceful protest stated unequivocally that #BlackLivesMatter and that we are committed to peace and justice.'

Bishop John Stowe from the Diocese of Kentucky and President of Pax Christi tweeted: 'As Trump visits the John Paul II National Shrine today, I hope someone proclaims today's Gospel (Mark 12:13-17) where Herodians and Pharisees are called out for their hypocrisy.

Archdiocese of Washington -

Tags: George Floyd, Washington DC, National Shrine, Archbishop Wilton D Gregory, Bishop John Stowe, Archbishop Wilton Gregory

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