(The following statement was posted on the Church of St. Francis of Assisi’s FaceBook page on Saturday, August 12, 2017:)

As the news and images of horrible events that are unfolding in Charlottesville, Virginia continue to come to light, our hearts are troubled and weighed down with sadness. First and foremost the friars and staff at the Church of St. Francis of Assisi condemn any act of violence especially the cowardly and senseless attack with the car that took one person’s life and injured many more.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the victim, the victim’s family and friends, and with all of those who are injured.

But we are also horrified by the naked display of outright racism by the participants in the so-called “unite the right” rally. We condemn in the strongest terms this evil and sinful attitude that professes that one person or group of people is better than any other because of their race.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church rightfully condemns racism and racist attitudes in the strongest terms:

“The equality of human beings rests essentially on their dignity as persons and the rights that flow from it: ‘Every form of social or cultural discrimination in fundamental personal rights on the grounds of sex, race, color, social conditions, language, or religion must be curbed and eradicated as incompatible with God’s design.” (CCC 1935)

Racism is a sin that must be eradicated. This begins with examining our own hearts and minds to search ourselves for any racist attitudes, it then moves outwards to our families, and friends where we must have the courage and love to confront this sin, and then it moves outward in ever growing circles to our community and our society where we must work for peace and justice based on the equal dignity of all of God’s children.

Every human being is created in the image and likeness of God. Any attitude, philosophy, or ideology that seeks to deny this fundamental truth is antithetical to the Gospel and the Christian faith.

We pray for the victims tonight, but we also pray for our nation and for all people of good will, that we will all work for justice and for peace for the good of all.