Pope Francis: Catholics Cannot Tolerate Racism and Also “Claim to Defend the Sacredness of Every Human Life”

Pope Francis commented on the protests that have erupted since George Floyd, an unarmed black man, was killed while in police custody in Minneapolis, saying that Catholics cannot tolerate racism and also “claim to defend the sacredness of every human life.”

“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. “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.'”

Pope Francis says he is joining the Church 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.”

His full remarks are below:

“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. “

In 2018, the pope warned that the world is seeing an uptick in racism and discrimination, telling over 200 participants of an international conference on “Xenophobia, Racism and Populist Nationalism in the Context of World Migrations,” that “We are living in times in which feelings that many thought had passed are taking new life and spreading.”

The pope said this trend is one that harbors “feelings of suspicion, fear, contempt and even hatred towards individuals or groups judged for their ethnic, national or religious identity and, as such – he said – considered not sufficiently worthy of being fully part of society’s life.” He concluded that  “we are all called, in our respective roles, to cultivate and promote respect for the intrinsic dignity of every human person.”