On June 10, the Bishops of the United States gathered in St. Louis for their Spring General Assembly.
The bishops accepted a letter at the assembly that was presented to them by Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Ky., president of the USCCB. The letter was in regards to tragic events that have been taking place throughout many cities across the United States between law enforcement officials and African-Americans and others who have lost their lives in altercations with law enforcements.
Bishop Richard J. Malone and Episcopal Bishop R. William Franklin have joined together to write two Pastoral Letters. In one they state, "We have witnessed civil unrest in Ferguson, New York City, Cleveland, Baltimore and many other areas. Incidents near and far have shown us how much work remains to be done to heal racial wounds here and around the country."
Since then, there has been another incident between African-American teens and law enforcement that has made headline news.
In Galatians 5 we read, "For you were called for freedom, brothers. But do not use this freedom as an opportunity for the flesh; rather, serve one another through love. For the whole law is fulfilled in one statement, namely, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself. But if you go on biting and devouring one another, beware that you are not consumed by one another. I say, then: live by the spirit and you will certainly not gratify the desire of the flesh."
These words from the Bible, gives us the wisdom and the power we Christians need to confront these issues. It goes on to say, "In contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control." If those involved would only use the fruits that they have been given by the Holy Spirit, there would not be so many of these situations. If we would treat others as we would want to be treated than maybe there wouldn't be so much killings and disrespect for others. Let us take time and meditate on these words. Try to get together with law enforcement in your area to sit and discuss what is happening between in the community also make time for some sharing of scripture and prayer for those who are suffering.
The letter that Archbishop Kurtz presented to the Assembly of Bishops gives us suggestion of what we can do to help: pray for peace and healing among all people; study the Word of God and the social teaching of the Church in order to gain a deeper appreciation of the dignity of all persons; make a sincere effort to encounter more fully people of different racial backgrounds with whom we live, work and minister; Pursue ways in which Catholic parishes and neighborhoods can be truly welcoming of families of different racial and religious backgrounds. Get to know our local law enforcement officers. Let them know of our support and gratitude. And encourage young people to respect all legitimate authority. This letter in its entirety can be found on the USCCB website.