As followers of St. Francis of Assisi, the patron of peace, we, the Franciscans Friars of the United States join with the many public and religious leaders and fellow-citizens who have condemned the recent violence in Charlottesville, VA.
We hold that all forms of racism, white supremacy, neo-nazism, xenophobia and hatred are wrong. Because we believe that every person is created by God in love, we also hold that disrespect or diminishment of—or violence against–anyone offends not only that person but also the One who created that person.
As Franciscans, we strive to be bridge-builders. To avoid future instances of the tragic violence that tore not only the community of Charlottesville but also the fabric of our nation, we call for a renewed commitment to respectful dialogue by all, whereby our opinions and differences can be shared in constructive and illuminating ways that lead to the possibility of growth and conversion for all. Such dialogue might lead us beyond the overt displays of violence and intolerance into an understanding of the subtler and even unconscious forms of discrimination and intolerance that may still inhabit our hearts as well as our society.
We commit ourselves to the responsibility of respect for and dialogue with all who seem “other” than ourselves. And we pray that all the citizens of our nation will join in striving to attain respect and peace in our communities.
Provincial Ministers of the United States of America