“Crucify Him!”: The Will of the Mob and Fr. Daniel Moloney

It is said that all that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. In this case the good men did much worse than merely nothing. They did the dirty work of the mob.

Left: "Mercy: What Every Catholic Should Know" by Fr. Daniel Moloney was published recently by Ignatius Press and Augustine Institute; right: A screen shot of a June 16 article in The Boston Globe about Fr. Moloney resigning from his position as Catholic chaplain at MIT.

Fr. Daniel Moloney is one of the finest priests I know and one of the most erudite. I have been honored to work with him in my capacity as Director of Book Publishing at the Augustine Institute because he is the author of Mercy: What Every Catholic Should Know, which is a fine and orthodox exposition of the virtue of mercy, without which justice is impossible. It was ironic, therefore, that Fr. Moloney was shown neither mercy nor justice when he was forced to resign from his position as Catholic chaplain at MIT for daring to suggest that we should keep our heads in the wake of the death of George Floyd, allowing reason and love to make sense of what really happened during his tragic arrest in Minneapolis.

There is a further irony in the fact that the Gospel text on which Fr. Moloney was preaching, which caused him to be sacrificed as a scapegoat to assuage the demands of the mob, was “blessed are the peacemakers”.

Let’s look at the reasons given for Fr. Moloney’s forced resignation, and then let’s look at what he actually said. The abyss between the hysteria of the former and the charity and clarity of the latter is striking.

Suzy Nelson, dean of student life at MIT, sent an email to students calling Moloney’s comments “deeply disturbing”, adding that “by devaluing and disparaging George Floyd’s character, Father Moloney’s message failed to acknowledge the dignity of each human being and the devastating impact of systemic racism.” Much more deeply disturbing than anything Fr. Moloney actually wrote was the fact that this good priest was thrown to the dogs by his own archdiocese to assuage the blood lust of the mob. A spokesman for the archdiocese described his comments as “wrong” and apparently so wrong that he was forced to resign.

Having given the case for the prosecution, which might perhaps more accurately be described as the justification for the persecution and the rationale for the witch-hunt, let’s look at what Fr. Moloney actually wrote.

“The Gospel says one thing,” Fr. Moloney began, referring to the blessedness of the peacemakers, “and everyone else is saying partial truths, at most.” Having lamented the unjust and brutal killing of George Floyd, Fr. Moloney stated the uncontested facts, as “deeply disturbing” and “wrong” as they might be, that George Floyd “had not lived a virtuous life”. Having stated the obvious, he stated the uncontested fact that Mr. Floyd had been “convicted of several crimes, including armed robbery, which he seems to have committed to feed his drug habit”. Furthermore, and continuing to state uncontested facts, Fr. Moloney mentioned that Mr. Floyd was “high on drugs at the time of his arrest”. This statement of well-known and incontrovertible facts was then followed by what Fr. Moloney had to say about them:

He committed sins, but we root for sinners to change their lives and convert to the Gospel. Catholics want all life protected from conception until natural death. The police officer who knelt on his neck until he died acted wrongly. Watching the video, I wondered, what he was thinking?!  The charges filed against him allege dangerous negligence, but say nothing about his state of mind. He might have killed George Floyd intentionally, or not. He hasn’t told us. But he showed disregard for his life, and we cannot accept that in our law enforcement officers. It is right that he has been arrested and will be prosecuted…. Criminals have human dignity, too. That’s why we Catholics are asked to work to abolish the death penalty in this country.

What exactly has Fr. Moloney said that could constitute the “devaluing and disparaging” of George Floyd’s character? Where, in these words about rooting for sinners and wanting all lives protected “from conception until natural death” did Fr. Moloney “fail to acknowledge the dignity of each human being”?

Although Fr. Moloney might have said something “deeply disturbing” and “wrong” in failing to bend the knee to the newly canonized saint, George Floyd, one suspects that his greatest crime was his apparent failure to stress the “devastating impact of systemic racism”. It is in the uttering of the following words that he would have committed the greatest crime in the eyes of the ideological ethno-masochists:

In the wake of George Floyd’s death, most people in the country have framed this as an act of racism. I don’t think we know that. Many people have claimed that racism is a major problem in police forces. I don’t think we know that.

It is this statement which incited the lynch-mob to descend on Fr. Moloney. In the eyes of the mob, such statements are not merely “deeply disturbing” and ”wrong”, they are deeply heretical. Anyone who utters such heresies must be made a scapegoat and must be sacrificed on the altar of the new “woke” religion.

Let’s exacerbate the so-called “heresy” and risk the ire of the mob by insisting on the known facts. Whether we like it or not, the fact is that we don’t know that the killing of George Floyd was an act of racism. We know and could see with our own eyes that it was an act of crass and probably sadistic brutality but there is no evidence that Derek Chauvin was a racist. In his many years as a police officer, there’s not a single complaint alleging that he acted in a racist manner.

And let’s make sure that we know exactly what Fr. Moloney was actually saying and, equally important, what he was not saying. He wasn’t saying, as some have alleged by misquoting him, that George Floyd’s death was not an act of racism. He was simply saying that we don’t know whether it was racist. It might be but there’s no actual evidence to suggest it. The only evidence is one of presumption. It is presumed that Derek Chauvin must be a racist because he is a white police officer. Now this presumption is really “deeply disturbing” and “wrong” because it is accusing every police officer who happens to have been tainted with the wrong colored skin of being guilty as charged, merely because of his skin color, irrespective of the total lack of actual or factual evidence.

As for racism itself, Fr. Moloney condemns it in no uncertain terms. “Racism is a sin,” he says. “So is rash judgment”. He then goes on to quote the Catechism of the Catholic Church to illustrate the solidarity that is both needed and lacking in our current hate-filled and unforgiving times:

Solidarity with our fellow human beings is “a direct demand of human and Christian brotherhood… sealed by the sacrifice of redemption offered by Jesus Christ on the altar of the Cross to his heavenly Father, on behalf of sinful humanity.” (#1939). Our solidarity with one another is deeply frayed now. Everything we say (or don’t say) is treated with suspicion, rather than charity….  Everyone’s mind is made up, everyone’s angry with each other—even though everyone says they’re opposed to injustices and sins.

Fr. Moloney concludes his “deeply disturbing” and “wrong” overview of the present calamitous situation by returning to the words of the Gospel which had animated everything he said. “Blessed are the peacemakers, our Lord tells us. May we all be counted among them.”

Can anyone in their right mind and heart really believe that anything Fr. Moloney said constitutes a reason for his being offered as a sacrifice to the mob? Can we really find anything in his words that are truly “wrong” as the archdiocesan spokesman claimed?

It is said that all that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. In this case the good men did much worse than merely nothing. They did the dirty work of the mob. It is intriguing in this light to consider the words of the leader of another mob, a mob which was responsible for the deaths of tens of millions of people and a mob which is nonetheless admired, in spite of the death-count, by many of those in the current mobs besieging our nation. It was Lenin who said that the mob should advance on all fronts, withdrawing when it encounters steel but advancing when it encounters mush. In this instance, the mob has encountered nothing but mush and has advanced over the bruised and bleeding priest who is its latest innocent victim.

As for Fr. Moloney, he shows us in his book Mercy: What Every Catholic Should Know, the tyranny of a society that demands justice but not mercy. It is true, as the mob claims, proclaiming it as a violent threat, that where there’s no justice, there’s also no peace. It is also true, however, that where there is no love and mercy, there will be neither peace nor justice. The mob knows nothing of love or mercy as its hatred against this good and holy priest demonstrates. He was shown no mercy by the mob, nor was he protected by the archdiocese, which showed no courage in throwing the lamb to the pack of ravenous wolves. This is the ugly truth which is really and truly “deeply disturbing” and “wrong”.

(Editor’s note: The link to what Fr. Moloney actually said was incorrect and has been corrected; the error was made by the editors and not by Mr. Pearce.)


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About Joseph Pearce 21 Articles
Joseph Pearce is the author of numerous literary works including Literary Converts, The Quest for Shakespeare and Shakespeare on Love,Poems Every Catholic Should Know (TAN Books) and Literature: What Every Catholic Should Know (Augustine Institute/Ignatius Press), and the editor of the Ignatius Critical Editions series. His other books include literary biographies of Oscar Wilde, J.R.R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, G. K. Chesterton and Alexander Solzhenitsyn. A native of England, he is Director of Book Publishing at the Augustine Institute, editor of the St. Austin Review, editor of Faith & Culture, and is Senior Contributor at The Imaginative Conservative. Visit his website at jpearce.co.

48 Comments

  1. God bless Fr. Moloney. We are living in a time when the Mob rules and they are making the rules. Every knee shall bow to Jesus.

  2. I suppose by now that readers are not surprised that any AD, in this case the AD of Boston, would throw a good shepherd to the mob.

    Meaning, in Boston, I can only assume, that the Archbishop of Boston, “His Eminence” the Cardinal, agrees to throw a good priest to the mob.

    If one actually thought there was a spiritual battle going on, one might conclude that many diocesan staffs and their Bishops are spiritual enemies of faithful priests and people.

    SPIRITUAL ENEMIES.

    OUR CATHOLIC CHURCH ESTABLISHMENT APPEARS TO BE NOTHING BUT DEAD WOOD STACKED FOR THE FLAMES.

    • I hope that readers take this in a sincere light but it appears that what was done to Fr. Moloney was also done by him to George Floyd. It’s one thing to put the truth out there but it’s quite another to put the dead victim on trial and cast aspersions on his character, dissolute as Floyd’s was. If Father had waited perhaps six months or so before he put out his statement and let the situation cool, MIT might have just shrugged, or, Father would have given it a second thought and not posted it at all.

      It’s always good for our humility when we apologize for our imprudent comments – and we all make them – and I think that Fr. Moloney can make that apology.

      • “I hope that readers take this in a sincere light but it appears that what was done to Fr. Moloney was also done by him to George Floyd.”

        No, it wsan’t. He told the truth about George Floyd. It is no part of Catholicism to pretend that everybody who dies was a stainless saint in no need of prayers.

        Fr. Moloney made no imprudent comments, and should not apologize.

        The perpetually offended bullies, on the other hand, should apologize; and shutting up would also be a good program for them to follow.

        • Thank you Lesley for saying exactly what I was going to say. Our Saviour has asked us to be holy not “nice.”

      • No, this is wrong Rosemary.

        Fr. Moloney was being a spiritual leader, unlike his opposite the Archbishop of Washington, who has reduced himself to nothing more than a political animal.

        The difference is that Fr. Moloney submits to the rule of God, and frauds like the Archbishop of Washington submit to the rule of his masters in the political mob.

        MIT has revealed itself as repulsive parasitic drinking the blood of a country that it regards as contemptible.

        Multiple people have been murdered, and hundreds of small businesses, meaning the way of life of the families depending on these businesses, have been destroyed, all in the name of outright lies told by the self-declared Marxist agitatator crime network Black Lives Matter, allied with the very same Marxist violence mongers calling themselves Antifa.

        If we cannot condemn mass communication lies and violent protests, then we are just cattle, not free men and women in Christ, and we deserve to receive the violence that we refuse to confront.

      • The truth is never imprudent. The media was lying about Floyd, and trying to get all four cops killed over false allegations of racism. Whenever a baying mob tries to get people killed over nothing, over false facts, every person should try to correct the record. Floyd was a career criminal who was high on meth and fentanyl the day of his death. He had a heart attack because he tried to fight the cops. He fought the cops because he knew he would be going back to prison if they took him in. It is entirely possible the knee on the neck had little or nothing to do with his death, despite every sad sack viewer of videos “knowing” they could tell exactly what happened. Floyd had a heart attack, and he was saying “I can’t breathe” long before he was placed on the ground. The fact is, people were being manipulated by the media and a video shot from one angle showing only part of the story. It would be a crime not to speak out when the media is attempting to destroy lives. Shame on you.

      • Clearly the truth hurts. Nonetheless, we are to speak the truth in every instance regardless of how uncomfortable it may be. Denying truths in matters of great magnitude is a disservice to all. It’s a disservice to persecute anyone, much less clergy. Prosecute when justification presents itself, but with great care and discernment. Disparaging is contrary to truth and akin to gossip. Fr. Maloney did neither and his critics did.

      • I don’t believe Fr. Moloney has anything to apologize for. He said “Blessed are the Peacemakers”. He didn’t lie about George Floyd’s life. George Floyd did not lead an exemplary life. However, Fr. Moloney also stated that he should not have been treated the way he was by the police, which led to his death. Fr. Moloney is simply trying to state that we should be Peacemakers. Our world would be a better place if we all strived to be a Peacemaker.

  3. I am reassured that Fr. Moloney was speaking the Gospel truth. How can I be so confident? Extremist mobs and terrorists will come after you and, like a lamb led to slaughter, they will try to destroy you when you speak the truth. Hats off to Fr. Moloney for speaking the truth. God’s justice will prevail.

  4. What if we were to establish this as a general rule: No one should lose a position for anything said without malice?

  5. May God bless and sustain this good priest who spoke truth at a time in which it is increasingly dangerous to do so. And may God have mercy on those who failed to stand with him and who pushed him into the path of the ravenous mob of jackals. That mob is, in effect, seeking a sacrifice of flesh and blood to mollify their insatiable thirst for human sacrifice, albeit in another form compared to that practiced by idol worshipping pagans in times past.

  6. Thank you, Mr. Pearce. I found your article enlightening and factual and am deeply grateful in this time of horrible destructive hatred. God bless you abundantly for bringing sense to a manic world.

  7. Mr. Pearce, I am so distressed to learn about this. The frenzy blind unreasoning anger that has been going on is shocking and shameful, and the moral cowardice of those who throw sacrificial to the mob is appalling.

    Those who are furious when someone points out that Mr. Floyd was a perfect saint, utterly innocent in his behavior, probably don’t realize that what they are actually indicating is that the policeman’s actions would have been acceptable as long as the person who died was “bad.” Evil actions are evil whether the victim of them is good or bad. That is something that we need our police to know, for everyone’s safety, and the protesters’ and rioters’ behavior undermines that.

    As far as the policeman’s actions, I found this article interesting. It doesn’t excuse his behavior, but it may help explain it. https://medium.com/@gavrilodavid/why-derek-chauvin-may-get-off-his-murder-charge-2e2ad8d0911

    • The only question here is whether the knee on the neck is an approved police technique. I saw that the Minneapolis police department DOES approve of this use of the knee on their website. They took this website down after this all blew up. Chauvin will not be convicted, because the medical evidence will show Floyd had a heart attack after being on meth and fentanyl, that many people cops arrest say “I can’t breathe” after they are arrested, but almost always can breathe. Use of force against violent felons is a subject open to debate, but suddenly everyone “knows” this was a grossly illegal thing to do. It was not so obvious.

  8. Even messages of moderation and temperance in a time of national anger are intolerable, not just to the Left, but to the bishops as well. It is a profound injustice that Moloney should find himself abandoned and without recourse against Cardinal O’Malley’s decision.

  9. The left side of the Church is imploding, and this is another example. With all the mush on the left, nothing will be left to sustain it. The Church that survives will not be the one that rolls over and plays dead for governments, mobs, heretics, or modernists– it will be the Church that challenges them relentlessly and directly. Certainly the Catholics of Boston should be outraged at the unjust treatment of a priest whose bishop should have had his back– and they should start putting pressure on the archbishop to apologize. Oh, wait– we only apologize when leftists are offended, never when traditionalists are offended.

  10. As for the mob mentality which has annexed itself to social justice, whatever will happen to BLM in 2027 when (after fifty years) the files are fully opened on our civil rights icon AND womanizer, Martin Luther King, Jr.? Will the #MeToo faction of the amalgamated Movement topple even him from his pedestal? Like Columbus and so many others now being erased from public memory?

    https://theconversation.com/im-an-mlk-scholar-and-ill-never-be-able-to-view-king-in-the-same-light-118015

    Who will dare turn a blind eye to the fact that untarnished purity escaped King’s interest? Will silence be branded as an admission of complicit guilt? Will sexism bump racism as the morality play du jour?

    • Peter,
      Not directly relevant to MLK but I saw that statues of Jamaican and US black people have been targeted now with vandalism here and in the UK.
      Everything ends up destroyed in anarchy.

  11. And what will Rome say about the throwing of Fr. Moloney under the bus? How about the throwing of the Chinese Catholics under the bus? That is a good role model of what to do when you face leftist intolerance.

  12. When a Metro Detroit Police Chief, of Forty Years’ service, made some private comments about the riots, blowing off steam, a few citizens rose up (loudly as usual) and demanded he be fired! I could not believe it, and yet I could.
    When people rise up in hostility, to get rid of good and faithful civil servants, over private expressions of anxiety and frustration – – – nothing more – – – and refuse to chill out and let their superiors deal with them, we are all in danger. It is called CENSORSHIP, another wicked force for evil.

  13. The mob mentality lured Cardinal O’Malley to Pilate’s bench. At least Pilate understood the innocence of Jesus when he washed his hands, something the Cardinal has failed to do.

    • Absolutely, morton.

      Cardinal O’Malley is the Pontius Pilate of this story.

      He should be required —at the very least — to name Fr. Moloney’s offense.

      I pray that God raises up for us another Athanasius, someone who will proclaim the truth with power and save His Church from destruction.

      When He does, I’ll be shocked if it’s anyone from within the present Church leadership.

  14. I think your analysis is off. As Ms Nelson says herself, the main crime here was suggesting that Floyd was a sinner. Fr. Moloney of course meant that in the Christian way: Christ came to save sinners; we are all sinners. But we are facing an enemy religion here. As is so obvious in the sexual morality wars, they simply cannot hear the idea that one can be simultaneously sinful and loved infinitely by God. Of course, they have no god in their religion, so the only way that a person (say, George Floyd) can be saved is by apotheosis, becoming a deity himself. His status in the new paganism is rather like that of the emperor in the old. One must confess his perfection and burn a bit of incense at his shrine (or, maybe genuflect for 9 minutes). Notice the difference from the old paganism. What exalts you is not heroic conquest. It’s being a victim. That may be a difference that 20 centuries of Christianity has wrought. Poor George Floyd. He didn’t deserve the cop’s knee and he doesn’t deserve the deification treatment. What he does deserve and need are our fervent prayers that God would have mercy on his soul.
    FWIW, the revelation of MLK’s sins will change nothing. They don’t respect him now anyway. He was a Christian.
    FWIW again, let’s not count on the left–in church or society–collapsing of its own weight any time soon. We won’t live to see it.

  15. This article is about an act of INjustice, not justice. Firing is a form of punishment, and typically (e.g. except for necessity given poor business) it should only occur for moral faults. I wouldn’t have resigned had I been Moloney, but I would have made a statement denying that I had committed any fault.

    The only possible fault that could have been committed by Moloney would have been detraction. It is doubtful that this was the case. George Floyd was a convicted criminal, and he died (probably by murder) shortly after being taken into police custody as a suspect.

    The virtue of mercy is a lightening of punishment which is not deserved. Injustice is punishing virtuous or innocent behavior. For one to have been treated unjustly has nothing to do with mercy.

    Racism -in itself- to my understanding, is not a sin. A rash judgment or rash suspicion is. If a person is prejudged, rashly suspected, invidiously discriminated against (sin of favoritism), or insulted (contumely/revilement) because of his skin color, then a sin has been committed.

    On the other hand, racism is false. There is only one race – the human race. The only criteria by which human beings ought to be judged is the content of their character.

  16. I had the time this morning to open the link to what Father Maloney actually said and I may be missing something but I see nothing remotely controversial there.

      • Thank you Mr. Olson for the correct link.
        I think Father Maloney had something very profound to say about what happens to law enforcement officers and others who work day after day with the criminal element. It takes a toll for on them sure.

        I listened to Deacon Harold Burke Sivers (sp.?) on the radio this morning and he said we each need to ride with an officer in their patrol car and live in their world before making sweeping statements about police defunding. Deacon Harold has law enforcement experience and knows what he’s talking about.

  17. Why was the conduct of Cardinal O’Malley, which directly facilitated the castigation of Father Moloney, ignored and not admonished in this article?

  18. Personally, I do look to the graduates MIT for advances in lithium battery technology but never for advice in how to live my life. If Suzy and MIT believe that appeasing mob mentality is more important than dialectic in moral wisdom, so be it – I think it is a great disservice to their students but I am not surprised. Makes me even prouder of the fact that my 4.5 gpa, perfect ACT, 1380 SAT, National Merit Finalist, Eagle Scout, National Geographic Bee finalist, #12 in the state Cross-country runner, Daughters of the American Revolution Essay winner, and Red-sash Alter server son of mine did not apply to MIT, even though he was personally invited to apply. Instead he is at U. Notre Dame studying Biological Statistics and Linguistics. Recently he completed the Moreau First-Year Experience seminar and this whole time of Coronavirus quarantine at home we have been debating Aristotle, St. Augustine, St. Aquinas, Descartes, Newton, Hume, Kant, Hegel, Nistche, Heidegger, Modernism and Post-Modernism over dinner and on trips to the beach – gives me hope for the next generation of Catholics. Go Domers!

  19. I just went on the site below and read Father’s sermon and I saw nothing wrong with it. It was thoughtful snd and encouraged us to look within and not judge rashly. I will pray that Father will be reinstated quickly and given an apology. Since when is speaking the truth clearly and with love something wrong and evil. Isn’t this what we ate commanded to do by our Savior, Jesus Christ?

    https://newbostonpost.com/2020/06/19/heres-what-the-m-i-t-catholic-chaplain-got-fired-over/

  20. I am so ashamed of my alma mater. Such a travesty. There are repercussions for such actions. They have lost my support and involvement.

  21. What is doubly sad is that the Archdiocese and MIT both lost a chance to bring Fr Moloney and the students together to discuss the issue. Certainly Cardinal Sean, a Franciscan, would be the perfect person to host and moderate such a meeting. Rash judgment inevitably leads to rash actions as well as missed opportunities for civil discourse and even reconciliation.

  22. This sounds much like the O.J. Simpson situation. You knew what the verdict would be before the trial. If the police are found innocent, there will be riots. If found guilty, the mob is pleased.
    For Fr. Maloney, the same scenario. God bless Fr. Maloney for standing up to the truth. I wish his superiors had more solidarity.

  23. Thank you for the article. I was not aware of this specific situation which is another example in a line of people losing jobs because of mob political correctness and a phony “woke” attitude. I am frightened by the disintegration of our First Amendment rights of free speech. Our free speech is being trampled on by those who apparently have little grasp of facts and are giving in to a movement that is at odds with much of Christian beliefs. Like all who have practiced appeasement of loud mobs and violent movements in the past, it will eventually come back to haunt the appeasers as well. The bad thing is that they will take the rest of us down with them. Common sense and and the practical and fair application of the Judaeo/Christian ethic is badly needed. Prayers for Father Moloney and for a wake-up call for all those do “virtue-signaling” that has no virtue in it.

  24. Joseph, excellent article. Have seen a few discussions along the same lines, and am
    saddened to think that this clear, logical review of the situation will not be seen,
    nor considered, by so many of the righteous angry mob. When our leaders cave into the
    sentimental emotion of the uninformed masses, truth speakers fall as rapidly as pinecones in a windstorm.

  25. This is truly disturbing. The Church, in many cases, is complicit in the degradation of cultural standards because for too many years, it has largely kept silent on the culture wars. I will pray for Fr Moloney and the mob who took him down.

  26. All compassionate and faithful people need to remain vigilant and ‘wise as a serpent yet kind as a dove’ in these deceptive and brutal times.
    Thank you, Fr. Maloney! I totally disagree with the judgement made against you and your very valuable advice. I’m heartbroken that no one who can affect these matters seems to be listening.

  27. God bless Fr Maloney for having the courage to speak the truth, clearly & without malice.
    How can “the Silent Majority” step up and support him?
    Perhaps deluge the media with criticism of MIT’s philosophy & lack of freedom of expression for Christian values, as opposed to anarchist values; more so, notify the hierarchy who were too cowardly to stand up and support him, of their accountability for defending truth.

8 Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  1. “Crucify Him!”: The Will of the Mob and Fr. Daniel Moloney - Catholic Mass Search
  2. “Crucify Him!” Throwing a Good Priest to the Wolves – Joseph Pearce
  3. “No mercy, no justice”: Fr. Moloney’s lessons for minds that hate – Catholic World Report
  4. “No mercy, no justice”: Fr. Moloney’s lessons for minds that hate - Catholic Daily
  5. On the Providence of God by Saint John Chrysostom | Libertarian Party of Alabama Unofficial
  6. On the Providence of God by Saint John Chrysostom - Libertarian Guide
  7. The will of the mob and Father Moloney - California Catholic Daily
  8. MIT chaplain sacked for his thoughts, as a Catholic priest, on mercy, justice and George Floyd – Your Bible Verse Daily

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