Pope Francis Condemns ‘Sin of Racism’ While Promoting Nonviolence as Protests Mount in US

Thousands of people gather at the state Capitol in St. Paul, Minnesota, on June 2, 2020, to protest the death of George Floyd. Floyd died after being restrained by Minneapolis police officers on May 25. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)

VATICAN CITY (RNS) — Pope Francis decried “the sin of racism” Wednesday (June 3) as he addressed the unrest and protests in the United States following the death of George Floyd.

“Dear brothers and sisters in the United States, I have witnessed with great concern the disturbing social unrest in your nation in these past days, following the tragic death of Mr. George Floyd,” Francis said to the faithful during his weekly audience in St. Peter’s Square.

“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,” he said, adding that at the same time it’s important to recognize violence as a “self-destructive and self-defeating” act.

“Nothing is gained by violence and so much is lost,” the pope said on the first occasion where he addressed the riots and violence taking place in the United States.

Riots and protests took over the United States after the death of Floyd on May 25 in Minneapolis. A viral video recorded his final moments, in which a white police officer, Derek Chauvin, is seen pressing his knee into the neck of an unarmed Floyd, a black man.

Participants in a Chicago faith community demonstration carry a large George Floyd banner through the Bronzeville neighborhood on Chicago’s South Side on June 2, 2020. RNS photo by Emily McFarlan Miller

“Today I join the church in St. Paul and Minneapolis, and in the entire United States, in praying for the repose of the soul of George Floyd and of all those others who have lost their lives as a result of the sin of racism,” Francis said.

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Source: Religion News Service