EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — The Catholic Diocese of El Paso released a scathing pastoral letter Sunday morning, denouncing racism and white supremacy in the wake of the Walmart mass shooting. The letter also calls on current politicians listen to their ‘voice of conscious’ when discussing immigration reform.
It’s the first major statement from the Catholic Church on racism from the perspective of the Border and comes shortly after a similar pastoral letter against racism by bishops in the U.S. titled Open Wide Our Hearts: The Enduring Call to Love.
The pastoral letter connects the El Paso shooting to the recent resurgence of racism in the U.S. and mentions speech and how hateful rhetoric played a role in the shooting.
Bishop Seitz hopes the letter will begin to bring healing to the community.
“My hope with this pastoral letter it will be an impulse to further discussion reflection, certainly prayer so that from El Paso, the place that was so terribly wounded by this event, healing, truly might come,” Bishop Mark Seitz said Sunday morning.
A portion of the letter calls out institutionalized racism and white privilege, which Seitz acknowledges was perpetrated by the Catholic Church in their Spanish colonization of South America and its indigenous cultures. It reads in part, “the suffering, exploitation, and divestment of culture, language, religious tradition and memory experienced by the Pueblo peoples at the hands of colonists and, yes, members and leaders of the Church, must be acknowledged.”
If we are honest, racism is really about advancing, shoring up, and failing to oppose a system of white privilege and advantage based on skin color. When this system begins to shape our public choices, structure our common life together and becomes a tool of class, this is rightly called institutionalized racism.Bishop Mark Seitz, Pastoral Letter ‘Night Will be No More’
He calls on the Catholic Church in El Paso to be on a “permanent mission, an on an ongoing conversion to the Lord, so that we might be salt and leaven in the work of justice in the borderlands. Charity and justice must be the work of each of our parishes.”
The letter ends with a plea to save the suspected Walmart shooter’s life. Seitz seemingly appeals to Texans and those who are in positions of power in the judicial system to spare Patrick Crusius from execution.
“While the scales of justice may seem to tilt in favor of the necessity of lethal retribution, God offers us yet another chance to choose life. Choose in a manner worthy of your humanity,” it reads.
You can read the full Pastoral Letter, Night Will Be No More, by CLICKING HERE.