Pastoral Council Statement on Racial Injustice
We, as the Pastoral Council of the Brown-RISD Catholic Community, are writing today to denounce the actions of police officers who have taken human lives on the basis of race and white supremacist systems that endanger our communities of color. We express our deepest condolences for the families of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and every Black person murdered by officers who were given the task of protecting the people and decided to abuse their power. 1 Corinthians 12:26 says “And if one member suffers, all the parts share the suffering; if one member is honored, all rejoice with it.” While Black lives are not honored and protected, life itself is not honored. Black Lives Matter.
We recognize that the equality and dignity of each human life arise from our identities as beloved children of God. We denounce all forms of racial injustice, including personal and systemic forms of racism and white supremacy. We affirm that each person is called to respond to the promptings of the Holy Spirit to promote peace, justice, and mercy, and to bring Christ's healing presence to all souls. Actions of violence, hatred, and discrimination on the basis of race are attacks on the fundamental value of life. We cry out to God at this moment especially, knowing that our broken world is longing for the peace that can only be achieved through unity with our Savior. Our hearts break for our Black brothers and sisters who have experienced loss at the hands of police. We know that Jesus is present in the suffering of every person, and we know that prayer has the power to change hearts and minds. We invite each member of the BRCC to enter into a profound time of prayer for healing, unity, and an end to racial injustice.
“We call upon all Catholics to pray and work toward a new outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Let us pray for a supernatural desire to rid ourselves of the harm that bias and prejudice cause. We call upon Catholics to pray to the Holy Spirit for the Spirit of Truth to touch the hearts of all in the United States and to come down upon our criminal justice and law enforcement systems. Finally, let each and every Catholic, regardless of their ethnicity, beg God to heal our deeply broken view of each other, as well as our deeply broken society” (Statement of U.S. Bishop Chairmen in Wake of Death of George Floyd and National Protests, May 29, 2020).
The Brown-RISD Catholic Community is one of the most diverse student groups at Brown, and diversity is our strength when it is united in Christ. As Catholics we must bring our various God-given gifts and talents to share with each other to glorify God. No two saints were identical in the way they served our Lord, but each saint is united in Christ by the way that they strived for good according to the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Today, ask God in prayer how you are being sent out to serve. How are you saying “yes” to the beautiful plan of service to our brothers and sisters that God has for you? How will you uphold the truth that each human life is unique, unrepeatable, and must be protected and celebrated? When we unite our diverse stories and gifts in service of Christ and all people, God brings healing to the broken body that is our Church.
We stand in solidarity with the Black community, especially those in the BRCC who suffer from racial persecution. However, it is not enough to say that we are in solidarity with the Black community at this time, as words without actions are empty language. We ask that members of the BRCC do their part to donate within their means to local bailout funds, sign petitions, and educate friends and family on the movement to combat racism within our communities. If you cannot march, you can help from home. There are many ways to show your support.
We can each fight racial persecution by starting within our communities, our homes, and ourselves. Click here for some ideas for books to read, organizations in need of donations, prayers to pray, and petitions to sign. Prayerfully consider how you can make a difference. Let us come together to support our brothers and sisters in Christ to end all forms of racial violence and discrimination so that the dignity of every life will be upheld, honored, and loved.