Earlier last week a Catholic bishop in El Paso Mark Seitz kneeled down with a white rose in one hand and a sign in the other that said ‘Black Lives Matter’. The bishop accompanied by 12 other priests from the county, observed silence for 8 minutes and 46 seconds to show solidarity with George Floyd – an African-American who was killed in Minneapolis after a police officer bent on his knee for the same amount of time.
The bishop’s act of solidarity earned him a call from his boss, Pope Francis who also has been vocal in supporting Floyd. The Pope thanked the bishop for his gesture which reflected his own words.
“Through me, he (Pope) is expressing his unity with everyone who is willing to step out and say this needs to change,” said Seitz while talking to CNN.
“Frankly, what I did and what I have said is only a very small way to take part in what so many are doing in their peaceful protests,” he added, “This should never happen again. Wherever there is a lack of respect for human beings, where there’s a judgment based on the color of their skin, this has to be rooted out.”
“And now we know very clearly that the Holy Father is making this his prayer,” the bishop stated.
Earlier before during his weekly Angelus prayer at the Vatican, the Pope had taken Floyd’s name while addressing the mass – a move deemed ‘relatively rare’ by analysts. The Pope had called the killing distressing and urged for peace.
“We cannot tolerate or turn a blind eye to racism and exclusion in any form. At the same time, we have to recognize that violence is self-destructive and self-defeating. Nothing is gained by violence and so much is lost. Let us pray for reconciliation and peace,” said Pope Francis.