Pope Francis has called Archbishop Jose Gomez, president of the US bishops’ conference, to express his prayers and solidarity for Americans during the ongoing period of national unrest following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
In a letter to his fellow US bishops, Archbishop Gomez said the Pope “thanked the bishops for the pastoral tone of the Church’s response to the demonstrations across the country in our statements and actions since the death of George Floyd. He assured us of his continued prayers and closeness in the days and weeks ahead.”
“The Holy Father said he was praying, especially for Archbishop Bernard Hebda and the local Church in Minneapolis-St Paul,” he added.
During the weekly General Audience on Wednesday, Pope Francis said he was praying the soul of George Floyd and condemned the “sin of racism”. He also expressed “great concern” for the “disturbing social unrest in your nation in these past days, following the tragic death of Mr George Floyd.”
Quoting Archbishop Gomez, Pope added that “nothing is gained by violence and so much is lost.”
Derek Chauvin, the police officer who knelt on Floyd’s neck, was first charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter, but the charge was upgraded to second-degree murder on Wednesday. Three other officers have been charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. All have been dismissed from the police force.
Archbishop Bernard Hebda offered Mass for Floyd’s soul and for his family on Wednesday last week, and has led or attended numerous prayer services. He also joined a march on Tuesday with other faith leaders to place where Floyd died.
On behalf of the US bishops, Archbishop Gomez thanked the Pope “for his prayers and strong words of support” and assured him of the prayers of the US Bishops.
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