The Dispatch: More from CWR...

Minnesota bishops call for prayer and civility before jury finds Derek Chauvin guilty

After deliberating on Monday evening and Tuesday, the jury determined that former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was guilty on three charges of unintentional second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter.

(Tverdokhlib/Shutterstock)

Washington D.C., Apr 20, 2021 / 15:40 pm (CNA).

Minnesota bishops called for prayer and civility shortly before a jury on Tuesday found former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin guilty of second-degree unintentional murder and manslaughter charges in the killing of George Floyd.

After deliberating on Monday evening and Tuesday, the jury determined that Chauvin was guilty on three charges of unintentional second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter. Chauvin’s trial began on March 8.

The state’s bishops released a statement on Tuesday afternoon before the verdict was announced, asking for civility, prayer, and justice, and calling for an end to racism.

“The Catholic Church in Minnesota invites all people of faith to come together to speak with one another in a civil and charitable manner. Let us pray with one another and for one another,” read a statement by Archbishop Bernard Hebda of St. Paul-Minneapolis and the bishops of the five other dioceses in the state.

“Let us respect one another as children of God, created in his image. Let us collectively confess the truth and recognize that we urgently need each other now to get out of these cycles of fear and violence,” the bishops stated. “There are no victims and no oppressors in the Kingdom of God. For our children’s sake, let us embrace our true identity, without waiting another day.”

“There is far too much evidence that prejudice has an impact in criminal justice matters, influencing not only the way individuals are treated by some police and court systems but also the rates of incarceration. Whatever the verdict may be in the Chauvin trial, the Church remains committed to providing long-term leadership in eradicating structures of sin and racism in Minnesota and beyond.”

Chauvin, a former Minneapolis police officer, was charged with second-degree murder and manslaughter for the death of George Floyd, a 46 year-old Black man, on May 25, 2020; Chauvin restrained Floyd and held him in custody.

Video footage from bystanders showed Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes as Floyd audibly gasped, moaned, and complained he could not breathe. Towards the end of the video, Floyd appeared unconscious. After an ambulance arrived and transported Floyd to a nearby hospital, he was pronounced dead.

Chauvin was arrested on May 29 and charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter. Prosecutors later upgraded the charges to second-degree unintentional murder. The four officers who were involved in the attempted arrest, including Chauvin, were eventually fired by the Minneapolis Police Department.

After Floyd’s death, widespread protests, rallies, and riots ensued throughout the country and the world highlighting police brutality and racism. Pope Francis on June 3 prayed for Floyd’s soul and asked for the intercession of Our Lady of Guadalupe for peace and justice.

“We cannot tolerate or turn a blind eye to racism and exclusion in any form and yet claim to defend the sacredness of every human life. At the same time, we have to recognize that the violence of recent nights is self-destructive and self-defeating. Nothing is gained by violence and so much is lost,” the pope said amid widespread protests and riots in the United States.

The state’s bishops cited the U.S. bishops’ 2018 pastoral letter on racism, as they called for Catholics to work for peace and justice.

“As the U.S. bishops noted in a 2018 pastoral letter on racism, Open Wide Our Hearts: The Enduring Call to Love, it is a sad and undeniable truth that racial prejudice and discrimination continue to impact the lives and livelihoods of millions of U.S. citizens,” the bishops stated.

“There is far too much evidence that prejudice has an impact in criminal justice matters, influencing not only the way individuals are treated by some police and court systems but also the rates of incarceration,” they said.

Bishop Michael Fisher of Buffalo also issued a statement on Tuesday afternoon, after the jury’s verdict was announced.

“Today’s verdict of accountability in the tragic killing of George Floyd is an important step in healing the deep wounds of racial tension caused by his senseless killing,” Bishop Fisher said.

This story was updated on April 20 to include new information.


If you value the news and views Catholic World Report provides, please consider donating to support our efforts. Your contribution will help us continue to make CWR available to all readers worldwide for free, without a subscription. Thank you for your generosity!

Click here for more information on donating to CWR. Click here to sign up for our newsletter.


About Catholic News Agency 982 Articles
Catholic News Agency (www.catholicnewsagency.com)

8 Comments

  1. As we can see, when justice is done there is no rioting or looting. Wasn’t Justice all the Black Lives Matter movement was asking for? Now, give this Police Officer 6 months suspended probation and a 100.00 dollar suspended fine and the rioting and looting will sadly resume.

  2. I reject entirely the notion that there is systemic racism in the US and am very tired of the Bishops making assumptions of guilt, racism, and sin in their congregants on a topic about which they have little to no personal knowledge. There will always be racists, and I would add that racism is not limited to WHITE people. TV interviews in the past year have given all of us a wide open view of racism as voiced by minority members.The country has offered decades of affirmative action programs, set asides and other programs to strictly benefit minority members in an effort to change things for the better ( Covid aid to BLACK farmers only, being the latest example). Yet the claims of victimization persist. We have had a black President, now a VP, Senators and congressmen, and blacks are represented in EVERY occupation and govt and private industry. We have black multimillionaires from sport figures to Oprah. I am sick to death of being glibly accused by our Bishops of something of which I am not guilty. Yes, a number of minority members have been shot by police this year . The vast majority of victims were in the midst of committing a crime, holding a weapon , and/or resisting arrest at the time of the incident. George Floyd should not have died as he did. He was not however, some hapless guy simply on his way to work minding his own business.

    • We should all be sorry when a soul is taken away by a fellow human being. Never justify the wrongs we do to one another. Racism is a sin in the sense that you are not loving thy neighbour. Instead of justifying who is or not racist, my arguement is that love is the greatest of them all. Love one another, love your enemies and pray for them is what a Beautiful soul should aim for . The Bishops are asking for that unity that comes from love of one another. What is wrong with that? Jesus forgave his murderers and did NOT plead His innocence. Love is part of conversion, is liberating and shows humility of a soul. That is what we should all strive for and not use every opportunity to give out to our Bishops. If you are that unhappy with the Catholic Church, feel free to start your own Church. If you do decide to stay, then examine your conscience and not focus on the negatives. Above all, pray unceasingly for them. Please leave God’s annointed alone and let God be our judge.

      • Mag, to allow a lie (“systemic racism”) to stand unchallenged is to participate in the lie. If is uncharitable both to those who are being falsely accused and to those who are being taught hatred and bigotry against people based on their race – in this case, the assumption that all white people, and only white people, are racist.

        Then there’s this: “Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison said Sunday on CBS’s 60 Minutes there was no evidence George Floyd was a victim of a “hate crime” or racial bias.

        “I wouldn’t call it that because hate crimes are crimes where there’s an explicit motive and of bias,” Ellison said. “We don’t have any evidence that Derek Chauvin factored in George Floyd’s race as he did what he did.”

        If even the man responsible for prosecuting Mr. Chauvin doesn’t think he did it because of racism, perhaps the bishops should not imply that he did. It’s just a shame Mr. Ellison didn’t speak up before.

        “If you are that unhappy with the Catholic Church, feel free to start your own Church.”

        Being unhappy with the words of some bishops does not constitute being unahppy with the Church.

  3. It is worth recalling that Bishop Lori, moralizing here about “racism,” took cash payments from his colleague the sex abuser and big spender Bishop Mansfield, and in turn pretended to investigate his own benefactor, instead of doing what an honest man would do, whichbis recuse himself. He then got caught trying to hide the truth, when someone tipped off the Washington Post that Lori had taken tens of thousands in cash from Bransfield.

    Bishop Lori is against racism. As the sheik quipped to Romans in Ben Hur: “bravely spoken.”

  4. It creates a certain impression to hear Bishops bleating about racism, the same Bishops who engineered decades of injustice for abuse victims.

    Nothing is quite so compelling as hearing the imams of injustice issuing political fatwas against phantom racists.

    Just like the 12 Apostles, are they not?

  5. Racism is alive and well in the US and the world. Unfortunately the Minnesota Bishops should have added that BLM and other groups are themselves perpetrators of racism, antisemitism and racially based violence, and are therefore part of the problem, not the solution.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

All comments posted at Catholic World Report are moderated. While vigorous debate is welcome and encouraged, please note that in the interest of maintaining a civilized and helpful level of discussion, comments containing obscene language or personal attacks—or those that are deemed by the editors to be needlessly combative or inflammatory—will not be published. Thank you.


*