On Wednesday, 3 June, the following statement was issued by Bishop Declan Lang, Lead Bishop for International Affairs, and Bishop Paul McAleenan, Lead Bishop for Racial Justice, on behalf of all the Catholic Bishops of England and Wales:
“We stand in solidarity with our sisters and brothers in the USA as they challenge the evil of racism and the brutal killing of George Floyd. As the US Bishops made clear: ‘we cannot turn a blind eye to these atrocities and yet still try to profess to respect every human life. We serve a God of love, mercy, and justice.’ Systemic racism is embedded in our own society. The disproportionate harm suffered by Black and Minority Ethnic people throughout the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted profound inequalities, marginalisation and injustice here in the UK. The peaceful Black Lives Matter protests taking place in our towns and cities this week reflect the understandable anger that so many people feel about this. As Catholics we recognise that racism is an evil which must be opposed; we all have a responsibility for actively promoting racial justice. Whenever we ignore racism or dismiss Black and Minority Ethnic people’s experience of it, we are complicit in violations of human dignity. We pray for God’s help to overcome racism in all its forms and that we might protect everyone who suffers its consequences. We are all made in God’s image.”
The Bishops of England and Wales endeavour to act collegially when responding to such significant and important issues. This is done so as to send a strong message to both the faithful of the Church, to the civil authorities and to society as a whole. Bishop Marcus asks for all the clergy and faithful in the Diocese of Leeds to pray for the repose of the soul of Mr George Floyd, for the comfort in faith of his grieving family and for the peaceful and non-violent promotion of social and racial justice for all peoples.