“We cannot close our eyes to any form of racism or exclusion, while pretending to defend the sacredness of every human life” (Pope Francis, 10 June, 2020) –
The recent killing of George Floyd by four police officers in Minneapolis has sparked a series of public demonstrations across the United States and in many other countries. Even with the continued threat of COVD19, millions of mostly young people around the world have taken to the streets demanding change to end systemic racism, inequality and police brutality. As IMCS and ICMICA, we join these voices in denouncing the killing of unarmed women and men by police and we lift our voices with them to announce: Black lives matter.
The killing of Mr. Floyd is another stark reminder of the continued sin of racism in our world. This sin is not only present in the individual acts of injustice but can be seen in many social, political and economic structures of our society in many countries. Sadly, this social-structural sin continues to be found in actions of commission and omission within the church. It is not enough to refrain from acts of racism, we must become actively anti-racist. As Catholics, we believe that a call to anti-racism is deeply rooted in our call to discipleship. To not speak out in this present moment would constitute a sin of omission.
As international Catholic lay movements, we affirm the recent words of Pope Francis: “We cannot close our eyes to any form of racism or exclusion, while pretending to defend the sacredness of every human life” (10 June, 2020). To this end, we denounce racism and white supremacy in all their forms. We ask all members to open our eyes wider to the sins of racial injustice and white supremacy. We ask for forgiveness for any ways our movements over the past century have supported racism or failed to support anti-racist movements. In this moment, we re-commit ourselves to deepen our reflection on the structural evil that is racism, racial inequality and brutality in all their presence in our society, our church, and our movements.
Ravi Tissera, IMCS President
Kevin Ahern, ICMICA President
June 19, 2020 (Juneteenth)