U.S. Church News

Concerns raised over restrictions' long-term impact on spiritual health

By Catholic News Service

CNS photo/Debra Greenblat, Archdiocese of San Francisco Office of Human Life & Dignity

San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone leads the rosary at the Cathedral of St. Mary of the Assumption before Mass to conclude the Novena for Life Aug. 11, 2019. Archbishop Cordileone is asking priests to do what is possible to make Mass available to their flock while following coronavirus protocols. (CNS photo/Debra Greenblat, Archdiocese of San Francisco Office of Human Life & Dignity) See COVID-CHURCHES-RESTRICTIONS July 31, 2020.

SAN FRANCISCO (CNS) -- San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone thanked priests of the archdiocese in a July 30 letter for their "continued pastoral care" to their people and reminded them to continue their care "always keeping with the local health orders of your county."

He also asked his priests "to do everything possible to make Mass available to your people."

"Given the limits on numbers that have been imposed on us, I am asking each priest -- except for the elderly and those with underlying health conditions -- to be willing to celebrate up to three Masses on a Sunday, as necessary to respond to the demand," the archbishops said.

Currently 37 of California's state's 58 counties are on the state's coronavirus monitoring list, including the city and county of San Francisco and Marin and San Mateo counties -- the jurisdictions that make up the Archdiocese of San Francisco.

In San Francisco, outside religious services and funerals are allowed with a 12-person limit but indoor gatherings are not currently permitted. Indoor Sunday religious services also are banned at all San Mateo County churches.

In Marin County all houses of worship are closed for indoor services. Small outdoor "social" gatherings of up to 12 people are allowed, but news reports said local officials are allowing protests of up to 100 people.

Like Catholic dioceses across the country, many parishes in the San Francisco Archdiocese continue to livestream Masses, since public celebration of the Mass remains generally unavailable.

"For over four months now we have been deprived of the usual way in which we Catholics keep holy the Sabbath," the archbishop said. "As a sacramental church, it is in our nature, indeed it is our very identity, to physically gather together to worship and share in the Eucharist. I'm sure that you, just as I, are very concerned about the long-term effects this will have on our people's spiritual health."

He also said in recent weeks he has been given all kinds of advice as to what to do to fight the crowd limits, and he said "rapidly changing" orders also have led to confusion.

"All throughout these conversations," Archbishop Cordileone said, "I have spoken of how we want to be partners with the city in caring for our people -- not just for their physical and financial health, but mental and spiritual health as well -- emphasizing, too, the many different ways in which we have been supporting our local government in the effort to stem the spread of the virus and come to the aid of those in need."

He said confusion over state and local dictates about COVID-19 prevention led to a June 29 "cease and desist order" from City Attorney Dennis Herrera. He threatened the archdiocese with big fines after hearing reports that some Catholic churches were apparently operating "in defiance" of the city's public health protocols including requirements for face coverings and physical distancing.

“The archdiocese remains steadfast in protecting the health of its congregants and all San Franciscans” by following health and safety protocols, archdiocesan general counsel Paula Carney wrote Herrera.

Archbishop Cordileone said in his July 30 letter to priests that city officials have argued allowing certain capacity in retail outlets -- which was has been as much as 50% -- is safer than allowing indoor worship services because shoppers go into a store, make a purchase and leave, rather than stay in the store for an extended period of time, unlike worshippers who remain inside a church for the length of a service.

But the archbishop said he has argued that "a church can be a much safer place than a retail store, because it is a more controlled environment: The people are stationary; we can ensure social distancing; we can ensure that people are wearing face coverings; we can keep the doors open to allow air flow; we can sanitize high touch areas between services."

"With regard to outdoor services, you are all well aware that pre-planned and scheduled street protests have been allowed to continue unhindered," Archbishop Cordileone said, "while the limit of no more than 12 people still applies to everyone else, including us."

"Yet here again," he added, "an outdoor worship service is a much safer event than a protest, since the people are stationary, social distance is respected and the participants are wearing masks."

"Unfortunately, despite all of these efforts and explanations, and despite hearing words of approval for our archdiocesan safety plan that was submitted to the city's Recovery Task Force, there has been no change in the health order in San Francisco," Archbishop Cordileone said.

On a more positive note, he said, he wanted Catholics to pray for two men he was ordaining Aug. 1, Fathers Ben Rosado and Ian El-Quito, and for the men who will be ordained transitional deacons Aug. 8 and those who being ordained permanent deacons Aug. 15.

He also asked Catholics of the archdiocese "to storm heaven with prayer and fasting for a restoration of public worship unhindered, for a swift end to this pandemic, for health care workers and researchers, and for government officials who must make very complicated decisions for the overall well-being of our communities."

Across the country in Kentucky, as cases of COVID-19 in the state rose, Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz in a July 25 letter to his priests said parishes in the Archdiocese of Louisville would continue holding Masses at reduced capacity and he asked pastors to "double down on issues such as social distancing and mask-wearing."

He also offered a reminder that he has issued a dispensation from the obligation to attend Mass on Sundays and holy days of obligation.

In July, Gov. Andy Beshear urged Kentuckians to avoid large gatherings, and in recent consultation with the Kentucky Council of Churches, the governor suggested churches take a two-Sunday pause in holding in-person worship.

"The Catholic bishops of the commonwealth of Kentucky discussed this request late this week and decided not to ask parishes to suspend worship because of the very good job Catholic parishes have been doing with what has been asked of us, e.g. social distancing, mask-wearing, hygiene, cleaning, etc. and because of possible confusion on the part of the faithful," Archbishop Kurtz told priests.

He said the Catholic bishops sent a letter summarizing their thoughts to the Rev. Kent Gilbert, president of the board of the Kentucky Council of Churches, and copied Rocky Adkins, senior adviser to Beshear. In it the bishops said they recommit to safety and health protocols "and will especially emphasize mask-wearing as an important factor in being able to safely gather for worship during the pandemic."

"In the vast majority of our parishes," they said, "prudent caution on the part of our people has kept our crowd sizes well within the capacity guidelines. Given the rising number of cases, attendance may decline further."

"At this time, we will not be suspending the public celebration of Mass, but we will continue to monitor the situation," they added. "We look forward to continuing dialogue on this and other measures in the weeks ahead as we navigate the weeks and months to come."

Calling out racism, El Paso bishop forms commission a year after massacre

By Rhina Guidos Catholic News Service

CNS photo/Tyler Orsburn

A memorial in El Paso, Texas, is seen near the site of the Aug. 3, 2019, Walmart mass shooting during a visit by U.S. bishops and others Sept. 26. A year after the deadly shooting, El Paso Bishop Mark J. Seitz has announced the formation of a group to address racism as a way to honor the victims. (CNS photo/Tyler Orsburn) See SEITZ-COMMISSION-SHOOTING Aug. 3, 2020.

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- He was surrounded by photos of fellow El Pasoans, who spent the last moments of their lives one summer evening a year ago, running for safety while shopping at superstore.

"We will have time for prayer, for silence, for calling to mind their names, both of those who died and those who were wounded on that day," said Bishop Mark J. Seitz of El Paso, Texas, recalling the mass shooting at an area Walmart Aug. 3, 2019. "We will speak their names and remember them especially by our active prayer which we believe can be the most powerful way that we can accompany and assist those suffering."

But prayer alone, while powerful, has to be accompanied by actions to make sure the hate visited on the El Paso community that day vanishes one day, said Bishop Seitz Aug. 1, while gathered with civic and other spiritual leaders announcing the formation of a commission to examine ways that may lead to the eradication of the hate that prompted the attack taking the lives of the 23 El Pasoans and wounding another 25 victims.

"We really believe that ceremonies of remembrance, while they're important, and times of prayer, while they're essential, aren't enough," he said. "We also have to deal with the reality that led to those events on that day and were very clearly present in the mind and heart of the attacker."

Bishop Seitz was clear about what he believed were the motivations behind the attack by alleged shooter Patrick Crusius, of Allen, Texas. Cruisius is facing 23 counts of hate crimes resulting in death, and 23 counts of use of a firearm to commit murder, among other charges leveled against him. Authorities have said the attack at the Walmart was believed to have been aimed at Latinos, as the alleged shooter reportedly told authorities he was targeting "Mexicans."

Authorities later found a document allegedly written by the gunman that was described as anti-immigrant and was about the "Hispanic invasion" of the state.

It was "the presence in our country of racism and ideologies of white supremacy, which clearly motivated him," said Bishop Seitz during the news conference announcing the commission.

"He was not the inventor of that way of thought. What happened on that day was caused by a whole history of racist thought in our country, of exclusion, of making people of various degrees of worth in our minds, and we have to address it," the bishop said. "So, what I would like to propose today is the creation of a commission on race and equity that will work in our community in this coming year."

Though the commission is still in its infancy, Bishop Seitz and other religious and city leaders came together to produce something tangible, even as the community lacked a way to mourn together because of the restrictions brought about by the pandemic. An interfaith prayer service took place and included survivors and families of those who died but attendance was limited.

"We thought that this might be a good way to kick off this time of remembrance. This weekend last year, a Saturday morning, right around this time, chaos broke loose in our city," he said. "It was a day that changed the lives of so many, ended the lives of too many. There's no person in El Paso or our region that hasn't been changed by the events that we saw take place one year ago this weekend."

He said the idea of the commission came about to produce something to honor those affected and that wasn't limited to a memorial.

"So the question was: How do we fittingly memorialize? How do we fittingly remember? Because the greatest disservice we could do to those who lost their lives on that day, those who were wounded, was to forget what really happened."

He said the commission would have members from a variety of faiths and groups with the idea of bringing people together for "an honest conversation" directed at making structural changes.

"It's more and more clear to us that people of color in our community have a tough go of it," he said. "We need to hear them ... we need to deal with the things that still fall short of that ideal of equality that was spoken from the time of our founding fathers and mothers."

U.S. House appropriations measure blocks conscience protection rule

By Catholic News Service

NS photo/Tom Brenner, Reuters

A hawk flies beside the U.S. Capitol dome in Washington July 28, 2020. The U.S. House of Representatives passed an appropriations bill July 31 that blocks the conscience protection rule for health care providers. (CNS photo/Tom Brenner, Reuters) See HOUSE-CONSCIENCE-PROTECTION Aug. 3, 2020.

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- An omnibus appropriations bill approved by the House July 31 to fund a dozen federal departments and agencies blocks a conscience protection rule for health care providers who do not want to participate in abortion, sterilization or assisted suicide on religious or moral grounds.

"These poison pill provisions in H.R. 7617 seek to undermine the pro-life policies of the Trump administration," said Carol Tobias, president of National Right to Life. "Sadly, those who would suffer from the pro-abortion provisions would be women and their unborn children."

With a 217-197 vote, the House passed the Defense, Commerce, Justice, Science, Energy and Water Development, Financial Services and General Government, Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Act of 2021.

H.R. 7617 blocks implementation and enforcement of a rule titled "Protecting Statutory Conscience Rights in Health Care," issued by the Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights. The rule was published in the Federal Register May 21, 2019.

It says medical workers or institutions do not have to provide, participate in or pay for procedures they object to on moral or religious grounds, such as abortion and sterilization. It was to have taken effect July 22, 2019, but enforcement was postponed because of court challenges.

On Nov. 6, 2019, Judge Paul A. Engelmayer, of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, ordered HHS to vacate the rule, "Protecting Statutory Conscience Rights in Health Care," in its entirety.

He said it exceeded the statutory authority of HHS, was "arbitrary and capricious" and was adopted "in breach" of the procedural requirements of the Administrative Procedure Act.

But Engelmayer also acknowledged that "conscience provisions recognize and protect undeniably important rights." His ruling, he said, "leaves HHS at liberty to consider and promulgate rules governing these provisions. In the future, however, the agency must do so within the confines of the Administrative Procedure Act and the Constitution."

The decision is currently being appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit.

Bishops from Japan, U.S. call Catholics to work for nuclear disarmament

By Dennis Sadowski Catholic News Service

CNS photo/Tyler Orsburn

In this 2018 file photo, peace activists hold a Catholic prayer service of repentance near the White House for the use of nuclear weapons on Japan during World War II. Bishops from Japan and the U.S. explored Catholic efforts to end the danger of nuclear weapons during an Aug. 3, 2020, webinar commemorating the 75th anniversary of the nuclear bomb drop on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. (CNS photo/Tyler Orsburn) See MALLOY-TAKAMI-NUCLEAR-DISARMAMENT Aug. 3, 2020.

CLEVELAND (CNS) -- The path to true peace requires the world to abolish nuclear weapons, an American bishop and a Japanese archbishop said as the 75th anniversary of the atomic bombings at the end of World War II approached.

Speaking during a 30-minute webinar Aug. 3, Bishop David J. Malloy of Rockford, Illinois, and Archbishop Joseph Mitsuaki Takami of Nagasaki, Japan, reiterated long-standing calls by the bishops' conferences of both countries that the world must reverse the path toward a renewed arms race because of the threat it poses to God's creation.

"As long as the idea that weapons are necessary for peacemaking persists, it will be difficult to even reduce the number of nuclear weapons, let alone to abolish nuclear weapons. It would be ideal if the U.S. and Japan could truly reconcile with each other and work together for the abolition of nuclear weapons," Archbishop Takami said.

Recalling the words of Pope Francis, who during his visit to Japan in November 2019 called the world to remember its moral obligation to rid the world of nuclear weapons, Bishop Malloy said that all nations must "find the means for complete and mutual disarmament based on a shared commitment and trust that needs to be fostered and deepened."

The bishops expressed concern that the world has overlooked the massive destructiveness of nuclear weapons as experienced in Japan in 1945 when U.S. atomic bombs detonated over Hiroshima Aug. 6 and Nagasaki three days later.

Maryann Cusimano Love, associate professor of international politics at The Catholic University of America, hosted the prerecorded online event, introducing it with an overview of Catholic peacebuilding efforts in Japan and the United States.

She said church-based efforts are rooted in Catholic theology, which holds that just peace is possible through a sustained commitment to achieve nuclear abolition. She said the threat of nuclear war has grown in recent years as international arms control treaties have been abandoned and more nations seek to add such weapons of mass destruction to their arsenals.

Archbishop Takami, president of the Japanese bishops' conference, opened his remarks by explaining how he is a survivor of the bombing of Nagasaki, his hometown and the center of Japan's Catholic faith community. He was in his mother's womb at the time.

"I did not witness the horrific scenes that unfolded immediately following the bombing myself. But my maternal grandmother suffered burns all over her body and died a painful death after one week without receiving any medical attention," the archbishop said.

He recalled that two of his aunts died as a result of the bombing. "My married aunt's body was never found and her husband also died," he said.

Another aunt, a nun, was working outdoors when the bomb detonated. "She was exposed to the hot blast and was in pain for 12 days before dying," he said.

At Nagasaki's Urakami Cathedral, where 24 parishioners were preparing to receive the sacrament of reconciliation when the bomb exploded, little remained standing, he said.

Of the 12,000 parishioners about 8,500 died, the archbishop added. The bombing was "spiritually damaging" to many parishioners, who he said lost their faith and left the church.

Archbishop Takami drew widely from the words of St. John Paul II, who visited the two cities in 1981, delivering an urgent appeal that all people commit to a future without nuclear weapons.

The speech prompted the Japanese bishops' conference to designate the period from Aug. 6-15 each year as 10 Days of Prayer for Peace starting in 1982. During the time people are called to pray, reflect and act on behalf of peace, he said.

"Pope Francis went one step further and declared that the possession and use of nuclear are immoral," the archbishop added, describing one of the pontiff's address during his visit. "The pope stressed the need for unity and working together toward a world free of nuclear weapons and committed the church to the goal."

In response to Pope Francis' appeal, Bishop Alexis Mitsuru Shirahama of Hiroshima July 7 launched the Nuclear-Free World Foundation in collaboration with three peace organizations to support people working toward the ratification of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, which was approved in 2017 by a majority of United Nations member states. The Holy See became one of the first entities to ratify the agreement.

The fund will support peacemakers' work until 50 nations ratify the pact. Through July 7, 39 nations had ratified it, the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs reported.

Bishop Malloy said the U.S. bishops remain dedicated to the vision for disarmament expressed in their 1983 pastoral letter "The Challenge of Peace: God's Promise and Our Response."

The document committed the bishops, he said "to shaping the climate of opinion which will make it possible for our country to express profound sorrow over the atomic bombing of 1945. Without that sorrow, there is no possibility of finding a way of repudiating future use of nuclear weapons."

The bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki can lead people to understand the "tremendous human suffering and human cost" that can occur when nuclear weapons are used in war, he said.

Bishop Malloy also cited the words of Pope Francis in his 2015 encyclical "Laudato Si', on Care for Our Common Home," in which the pontiff called all people to see the world as a gift from the love of God."

Later, the pope in Japan, Bishop Malloy added, reminded the world of the threat nuclear weapons pose to creation and to human dignity, thus making their possession and use immoral under Catholic teaching.

The prelates concluded the webinar with prayers in Japanese and English, respectively, seeking peace, reconciliation and understanding among all people.

The webinar was produced by the Catholic Peacebuilding Network and its Project for Revitalizing Catholic Engagement in Nuclear Disarmament and the Berkley Center for Religion Peace and World Affairs at Georgetown University.

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Follow Sadowski on Twitter: @DennisSadowski

Crossword creator tests faith knowledge, sees games as way to evangelize

By Jessica Able Catholic News Service

CNS photo/courtesy The Record

Missy Bartlett poses with a Catholic puzzle book in her Louisville, Ky., home, in this June 28, 2020, photo. Bartlett's puzzles are also published in Catholic newspapers across the nation and internationally. (CNS photo/courtesy The Record) See CROSSWORD-PUZZLE-CREATOR Aug. 3, 2020.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (CNS) -- After her mother died in 1990, Missy Bartlett, a Louisville theology teacher and lover of puzzles, came across her mother's homemade crossword puzzles.

"My mom was disabled with rheumatoid arthritis and spent a long time in a wheelchair. As a hobby, she decided to make crossword puzzles herself," Bartlett said in a phone interview with The Record, newspaper of the Archdiocese of Louisville.

Discovering her mother's collection of puzzles inspired Bartlett to give puzzle-making a try. And since her expertise was in theology, she decided to center her puzzles on that theme.

For the last 20 years, her crossword puzzles have challenged The Record's puzzlers every week. Her puzzles also are published in Catholic newspapers across the nation and internationally, including in Canada and Singapore.

Before she created word puzzles, Bartlett was well into her teaching career. She's been teaching theology in Catholic schools in Louisville for more than 40 years.

She began her career at Angela Merici High School and then taught at Sacred Heart Academy for 20 years. She briefly left to teach at DeSales and St. Xavier high schools. She returned to Sacred Heart six years ago. She also teaches courses at Catholic-run Spalding University in Louisville.

As she ventured into puzzle-making, she learned the craft from scratch.

"When I first started I did it by hand and that took forever," she said with a chuckle.

She quickly moved her operation to a computer program and developed her own crossword dictionary of theology terms. She plugs in the clues and the program makes them fit. She carefully reviews and edits each one to ensure the puzzle's accuracy.

She considers puzzle-making part of her ministry as a Catholic educator.

"I see it as being a way to teach people, to remind people of what they learned in a fun way," she said.

Bartlett said she listened when Pope Francis encouraged Catholics to proclaim the faith beyond the normal avenues.

"It's that idea to use all means to evangelize I took to heart," she said.

Some of her clues include doctrine or rules of the church, others are pop culture references to the church. Bartlett also likes to include trivia involving saints and other church figures.

For example, in a recent puzzle, clues included "Give us this ___" (day) and "Catholic Canadian Prime Minister, Joe _____" (Clark).

"I get inspiration all throughout the day. I'm always looking for something," she said.

In addition to crossword puzzles, she has created word-games books, including compilations of crosswords and word searches.

She considers her business venture -- Word Games for Catholics -- as a way to honor her mother, Flora McLaughlin.

"I do it because I think of my mother. She loved crossword puzzles and she was stuck in her wheelchair, in her house," she said.

Bartlett said she hopes her puzzles are a source of entertainment for people.

"It gives people some entertaining way to learn about their faith or to practice what they know," she said.

And for those who are intimidated by crossword puzzles, including this reporter, Bartlett recommends practice.

"It's not necessarily about having an extensive vocabulary. Most words I use are not unusual. You just need to practice, to get a feel for the clues," she said.

Bartlett has three grown children and three grandchildren. She is a parishioner of St. Frances of Rome Church.

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Editor's Note: The website for Word Games for Catholics is www.wordgamesforcatholics.com.

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Able is a staff writer at The Record, newspaper of the Archdiocese of Louisville.

'Black lives matter!' says Las Vegas bishop in pastoral on racism

By Catholic News Service

CNS photo/Paul Haring

Bishop George L. Thomas of Las Vegas returns to his seat after receiving Communion at the Basilica of St. Mary Major during his "ad limina" visit in Rome Jan. 30, 2020. He issued a pastoral letter June 10 titled "When Words Fall Short: A Pastoral Letter on Racism." (CNS photo/Paul Haring) See LAS-VEGAS-PASTORAL-RACISM June 29, 2020.

LAS VEGAS (CNS) -- The "tragic death" of George Floyd, an African American killed while in the custody of a white police officer, "has torn the scab away from the gaping wound of racism that still infects communities across the globe," said Bishop George L. Thomas of Las Vegas.

He made the comments in a pastoral letter, "When Words Fall Short: A Pastoral Letter on Racism," issued June 10.

"What is needed in this critical moment is a genuine conversion of heart and a commitment to renew our communities," Bishop Thomas said. "The words of Pope Francis ring true in our hearts: 'Let no one think that this invitation is not meant for him or her.'"

Bishop Thomas was direct in the pastoral letter. "This time, words, chants, prayers and placards, however necessary and sincere, will not be enough to satisfy the hue and cry of the people. We want real evidence of real change," he said.

"We are a church that holds that all life is sacred, from the moment of conception until natural death. Under the banner of Catholic social teaching, we say with resounding voices, 'Yes! Black lives matter!'"

The bishop frequently cited both Catholic social teaching and the U.S. bishops' 2018 document, "Open Wide Our Hearts: The Enduring Call to Love -- A Pastoral Letter Against Racism," in his own pastoral letter.

"There are no throwaway people, no second-class citizens and no disposable souls. Every person is an unrepeatable and unique gift of God, binding us together as a human family, as sisters and brothers, each with inestimable worth and inalienable rights," Bishop Thomas said.

He reached back to quote the U.S. bishops' 1986 pastoral letter, "Economic Justice for All: Pastoral Letter on Catholic Social Teaching and the U.S. Economy," when the bishops said, "Human dignity can be realized and protected only in community."

"What happens when certain individuals feel unsafe, unprotected, unwanted, and unequal in the very community whose purpose is to provide for them equal protection under the law?" Bishop Thomas asked. "Look no further than the headlines of the day."

"Racist acts are sinful violations of justice. They wear many faces and don many disguises," Bishop Thomas added.

"Racism can be seen in deliberate, sinful acts of violence and extremism, and in attitudes of superiority and prejudicial humor, he continued. "It is found in unjust social structures that tolerate or abet discrimination in hiring, in housing and lending practices, in the denial of educational opportunities, and in disparities in health care. Racism is clearly reflected in the disproportionate imprisonment of minorities.

"It is also found in sins of omission and complacency, in attitudes of superiority, and in subtle inattention to injustice, most especially when people turn a blind eye to the presence of violence and overt acts of bigotry," he said.

Putting Catholic social teaching's preferential option for the poor into practice, Bishop Thomas said, "bids us to ask the difficult questions, 'What are the underlying causes of poverty, misery, inequality and racism, and what must we do to effect real, concrete, and substantial change in the way we live, both individually, and as a society?'"

After having met with local, state and federal law enforcement officials over the past year, "I emerged from these meetings convinced we are a community that has not only learned much from the tragedies and failures of the past, but has also put into place best practices and sound policies to help promote high quality law enforcement and build community confidence," said Bishop Thomas, who was installed in Las Vegas in 2018.

"Perfect? No. But every leader acknowledged that they and their agencies are works in progress, open to substantial community input and constructive criticism."

Bishop Thomas said, "George Floyd's death is a call to action and a time for community engagement among civic and government leaders, the ecumenical and interfaith community, and members of the community at large to listen attentively and to act decisively, helping address and eradicate the sin of racism and forge a future full of hope."

He noted, "There are many ways to seize the moment," he said, listing 16 specific actions, including getting educated on the history and causes of racism in the United States; raising your voice whenever you see racism, injustice or discrimination; disengaging from racial and discriminatory humor; helping to create a just workplace at one's own workplace; making a conscious effort to engage with people beyond one's own comfort zones to build relationships; and to "never underestimate the power of the polling place."

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Editor's Note: The full text of Bishop Thomas' pastoral, in English and in Spanish, can be found online at https://bit.ly/2Zo1F7l.

Copyright © 2018-2020 Roman Catholic Diocese of Las Vegas. All rights reserved.