With justice yet to be served in the tragic death of George Floyd and countless others before him, Pope Francis delivered a speech to American Catholics urging them to recognize the struggles that the Black community faces and to reach out and help them as we are called to do.
In his speech, Pope Francis prayed for George Floyd and "all of those others who have lost their lives as a result of the sin of racism." The Pope is known for his calls to urgent social justice matters all around the world, including racism, immigration, the death penalty, and poverty.
He has followed in the footsteps of his predecessors by being a strong advocate for civil rights and Martin Luther King Jr.'s message of nonviolent protests, notably referencing the activist in a speech to Congress in 2015.
While Pope Francis has stood firm ground on the Church's opposition to abortion, he urged all Catholics to consider what they mean when they say that they are pro-life. He said, "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."
His message is one that every Catholic needs to hear. We cannot selectively choose which lives are important enough to fight for. When we say that we are pro-life, we mean every life, in every situation.
God calls us to be ministers of His love to every person, and we cannot do that by ignoring the urgent cries of African American people for equality. Choosing to push aside the current situation of the Black community or condemn their fight for equality is, in the same breath, denying the sanctity that God endowed each and every one of us with.
Pope Francis also called the violent actions from some of the protests "self-destructive" and "self-defeating". He urged us to work together to fight the injustices that continue to harm Black communities rather than confronting them with violence.
With a country that seems more divided than ever, his message is clear: we must address the inequalities that face our country, and we must do so with love, acceptance, and unity.
We are called, as children of God, to live out God's mission by ensuring that we protect and defend our brothers and sisters that are suffering. We must stand up against inequality and fight for every person, and we must do so with the peace and faithfulness that Jesus exemplified in His own life.
Pope Francis is calling on us to recognize the change that needs to happen and to be activists in pursuing it, and every Catholic must respond to that call.