PERSONAL and systemic racism was a “kind of original sin in our country”, Bishop Robert Barron said days after the murder of George Floyd during a homily at St Louis de Montfort Church, Santa Maria US.
“The whole country’s acknowledging it, we do see this presence of personal and indeed systemic racism,” he said.
Riots and civil unrest had intensified over the last week after the murder of Mr George by a police officer in Minneapolis.
A video had circulated online of a police officer identified as Derek Chauvin kneeling on Mr Floyd’s neck during an arrest while Mr Floyd pleaded that he could not breathe.
He died from suffocation.
Minneapolis and other states had deployed National Guard units enforce civil order and maintain a curfew on the country.
USCCB president Los Angeles Archbishop Jose Gomez called the killing of Mr Floyd “senseless and brutal”.
“We should honour the sacrifice of his life by removing racism and hate from our hearts and renewing our commitment to fulfil our nation’s sacred promise – to be a beloved community of life, liberty, and equality for all,” Archbishop Gomez said.
The USCCB called on Catholics across the country to pray for an end to ongoing racism and racial divisions in the US.
Bishop Barron had pointed out an important historical fact about racism in the US.
“Go back go back even 400 years to the slave trade, slavery in our country, then come up through the time of segregation, up to our present day when racism and race hatred still is too present,” Bishop Barron said.
“Here’s something to think about – fellow Christians, fellow Catholics – during that whole history, when these racial tensions and racial hatreds were present in our country, during that whole history, the overwhelming majority of the people in this part of the world were Christians; people baptized into the Holy Spirit; people whose task is to bring love and unity to the world.
“That’s a judgment on all of us, isn’t it.
“It’s a judgement.
“Therefore on this Pentecost day can we take a renewed sense of mission?”
Bishop Barron called on Catholics to do something about it.
“We’re meant to go out into the streets, we’re meant to go out into our places of work, we’re meant to go out to our families, we’re meant to go out to our educational institutions, we’re meant to go out to the world of politics to bring the power of unity and love which the Holy Spirit represents,” he said.
“That’s our task everybody.
“Take strength today from the Eucharistic Lord as you adore him today as beautiful as that is, hear his voice saying, ‘Go now, go forth and bring the power of my love to a hungry world.’”
Mr Chauvin has been charged with murder and the other arresting officers have been fired.
As riots and civil unrest continue in the US, the country’s COVID-19 numbers continue to climb and had reached 1.8 million at time of writing.