The Need for Healing in the Face of Hate

Yesterday, the peace of a summer day was again shattered by hate and acrimony which inevitably turned violent, leading to the tragic death of a young woman and serious injuries to many more, as well as the deaths of two state troopers whose helicopter accidentally crashed while assisting in law enforcement efforts.  The scenes captured in video and pictures of a car slamming into a crowd of protesters and onlookers in Charlottesville and the dark chaos and strife before that awful event are heart-wrenching and painful to view.

Joining with the statement of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, “We offer our prayers for the family and loved ones of the person who was killed and for all those who have been injured. We join our voices to all those calling for calm.”  Our prayer also is that our society and culture find ways to rise above the forces of  fear and antagonism and work instead for a society of true unity, peace and justice.

We must always identify hate for what it is, but the inevitable pointing of fingers of blame after the fact only entrenches division. We as a nation must also engage in soul searching about how it is that there is so much social unrest and violence in our communities. After years of seeing the flames of resentment and division fanned by incitement to bitterness and distrust, should we not now be actively seeking reconciliation and a return to civility?

At this time, as Christians, as disciples of Jesus, we must redouble our efforts to bear a witness for peace and the common good.  As people of good will and faith in God, in solidarity with the victims of hate and violence, let us stand together in prayer and work for healing and unity in our country.

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