George Floyd death: Pope condemns US violence and prays for those suffering from ‘sin of racism’

Pope Francis becomes latest world leader to condemn racism following George Floyd’s death

Gino Spocchia
Wednesday 03 June 2020 12:51
Trump appears to ask Melania to smile during visit to the Saint John Paul II National Shrine

Pope Francis has spoken out against racism and called on the United States to come together amid destruction that he said was “self-destructive and self-defeating”.

The Pope broke his silence on Wednesday after eight nights of protests over the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, while in police custody.

Dedicating the entire English-language section of his weekly audience to the US, the pope said the 46-year-old’s death was “tragic”.

Pope Francis added that he was praying for all who died as a result of the “sin of racism”, including Mr 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,” Francis said.

“At the same time, we have to recognise that the violence of recent nights is self-destructive and self-defeating. Nothing is gained by violence and so much is lost,” he said.

The Pope then asked Americans to ask God for “the national reconciliation and peace for which we yearn”.

It comes after American church leaders condemned the Donald Trump over his decision to use religious symbols as props during photo opportunities.

Police in Washington DC teargassed protestors between the White House and St John’s church so that Mr Trump could pose outside with a Bible in hand, on Monday.

The church’s bishop, Mariann Budde, said afterwards that she was ”outraged” at the US president’s actions.

“Let me be clear, the president just used a Bible, the most sacred text of the Judeo-Christian tradition, and one of the churches of my diocese, without permission, as a backdrop for a message antithetical to the teachings of Jesus,” she later told CNN.

Catholics then protested as Mr Trump travelled to another photo opportunity at the Saint John Paul II National Shrine on Tuesday, where the president was seen asking Melania Trump to smile.

Washington’s Roman Catholic Archbishop Wilton Gregory said in a statement that John Paul “certainly would not condone the use of teargas and other deterrents to silence, scatter or intimidate them for a photo opportunity in front of a place of worship and peace”.

The archbishop who is black, also criticised the administrators of the John Paul shrine, saying he found it “baffling and reprehensible that any Catholic facility would allow itself to be so egregiously misused and manipulated”.

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