Catholic Bishop in West Virginia speaks out on growing violence across the nation

West Virginia

Bishop Mark Brennan of the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston on Inside West Virginia Politics. April 12, 2020

CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – Bishop Mark Brennan of the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston has released a statement on the protests and growing violence happening across the United States, calling for a peaceful resolution.

The Bishop’s full statement is included below:

The killing of George Floyd was an egregious act of violence with no justification
whatsoever, all the worse for having been perpetrated by some police officers who are sworn
to serve and protect their fellow citizens. Most law enforcement officials are decent men and
women who train hard to restrain any violent impulses and to be respectful as they deal with
the public. Mr. Floyd did not meet that kind of police officer the day he was killed.

I join other Americans in prayer for Mr. Floyd, his family and friends and for the
African American community of Minneapolis and throughout our country. Every human
being is made in God’s image and likeness and deserves respect and fair treatment. The
protests taking place in many US cities reflect the anger and frustration of millions of
Americans who, to this day, experience racism in their daily lives. If I find abhorrent the
resurgence of the ugly language, violence and racial discrimination I witnessed as a child,
with how much more right do African Americans react against it! We American bishops
addressed the issue of enduring racism in our society in our Pastoral Letter, Open Wide Our
Hearts, in November 2018 (usccb.org website). I urge you to read it.

The justified protests currently underway must not be tainted by those who wish to
spread violence or ruin the livelihoods of their neighbors. Such acts do not advance the cause
of racial equality and respect for the human dignity of all. Pope St. Paul VI said, “If you
want peace, work for justice.” Injuries to persons and destruction of property are not the
work of justice and will not bring peace.

Let us honor George Floyd and others who have died in similar incidents by working
for true justice and an America in which, as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., said, a person is
“judged not by the color of his skin but by the content of his character.”

Most Reverend Mark Brennan, Bishop of the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston

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