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The recent manifestations of violence, racism, and bigotry in Charlottesville, Virginia, as well as related incidents throughout the country, have disturbed us deeply.   We denounce all forms of racial prejudice.  Violence, such as we have seen, has no place in a civilized society, much less one rooted in Judeo-Christianity. We must keep before us the teaching of our Lord admonishing us to forgiveness and to love of neighbor, even our enemy.  

There must be a return to our Lord. We have nothing to fear when our hearts and minds are oriented to the truth of what He taught. God created us in His image and likeness, He loves us, and, to paraphrase St. Augustine, our hearts will remain restless until they rest in Him. The world, threatened by war, famine, civil unrest, and the disintegration of society, also needs the example of those who pursue peace and seek to live in accord with God’s will. 

We pledge our prayers and support to the victims of violence, pray for an end to racial hatred, and work for the elimination of inflammatory rhetoric that distorts the truth. And while we embrace these worthy goals, let us recall that peace and reconciliation begin with us. We cannot expect of others what we are not willing to live ourselves. 

Remember the words of Pope St. John Paul II, who echoed our Lord, “Be not afraid.”  Let us be encouraged to live in virtue and the pursuit of goodness.

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WASHINGTON—Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and Bishop Frank Dewane of Venice, Florida, Chairman of the USCCB Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, are calling on all people of goodwill to join in prayer and unity today in response to yesterday’s violent protest and deadly attack in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Read more: Catholic News Update