As most of you know, I am an active member and officer of the Association of United States Catholic Priests (AUSCP). We are the largest priest organization in the U.S. and on January 11, we issued a statement relative to the events at our Nation’s Capital on January 6. I bring the statement to your attention for your reflection.
The purpose of the statement is not meant to be political; rather it comes from the AUSCP as pastors who provide moral and spiritual leadership to our Church and Country. I am sure some will struggle with what the statement says; I certainly did as we wrote the statement. I pray that all of us can pray for healing in our Country as we move ahead.
Below is a portion of the statement, the complete statement can be found at www.auscp.org and is entitled:
Priests’ Association: We abhor the Capitol violence, we call for dialogue, and we acknowledge ‘We have got to do a better job’
“Demons of division, avoided by some and enabled by others, stirred up the assault on our nation’s Capitol January 6. What took years to build may take years to heal. We pray that our political and religious leaders are up to the task….
‘We pastors of faith communities and lay leaders know how crucial dialogue and discernment are to the well-being of a parish and to the whole church. So also are they necessary for our nation. We know that the church’s mission and role include participation in political dialogue about the issues facing our great nation.
‘It was with great distress that the treasure of Catholic Social Teaching which the church uses to address the complex issues of faith and politics was ignored in comments made by not a few priests and bishops in our church….
‘The violence of the January 6 insurrection was enabled by members of our own Senate and House of Representatives. It was also enabled by some members of the United States Catholic hierarchy and some of the clergy. Church leaders must do a better job in discerning the “signs of the times” and assist the Catholic faithful in the important discernment that is our responsibility in serving the gospel and the needs of our country.
‘We, the members and associates of the Association of the United States Catholic Priests abhor the incidents that occurred last Wednesday in our nation's capital. The direct destruction of property, the killings, and the enormous stress and possible harm to our elected officials by our own citizens of the United States are unacceptable, immoral, and totally opposed to our structure of our democratic republic.
We recommit ourselves to Love of God and Love of neighbor, even as we acknowledge that these despicable actions cry out for justice. We must not be left with broken windows and a broken faith. Our God of Mercy is a God of Justice, and those who are guilty must be judged.
‘We mourn the injuries and loss of life among brave and dedicated law enforcement officers, even as we acknowledge what was so painfully obvious.......
‘We pray for continued movement to preserving peace, acknowledging evil and its consequences, and restoring faith and confidence in our constitution and in our God….
‘We challenge ourselves and all religious leaders to model a discernment whose foundation is Catholic Social Teaching and assists the faithful in making judgments based on facts and the interests of the common good. We need to alert the faithful to the temptations of demagoguery and personality cult. It is our judgment that religious leadership has fallen short in not sounding the alarm of what would visit our nation. We have got to do a better job in the role and responsibilities we have.”
Blessing in 2021!
Let us continue to pray for peace in our world!
In peace and courage,