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Racism is a 'spiritual' virus that must be wiped out, says Vatican official

Discussion in 'Religious News' started by Vouthon, Jun 2, 2020.

  1. Vouthon

    Vouthon In varietate concordia
    Staff Member Premium Member

    Apr 17, 2013
    Catholic Christianity
    Racism is a 'spiritual' virus that must be wiped out, says Vatican official - Catholic Herald

    Much like the coronavirus pandemic, racism is a “spiritual” virus that has spread throughout the world and must be eradicated, said Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, president of the Pontifical Academy for Life.

    “I would compare (racism) to COVID-19, but it is a virus of the spirit, a cultural virus that, if not isolated, spreads quickly,” Archbishop Paglia told Catholic News Service on June 1.

    The Italian archbishop commented on the death of George Floyd while in police custody in Minneapolis and the subsequent protests throughout the United States.

    Floyd, 46, was arrested by police on suspicion of forgery. Once he was handcuffed, a white officer pinned him down on the street, putting his knee on Floyd’s neck for eight minutes. A now widely circulated video shows Floyd repeatedly saying, “I can’t breathe.” He appears to lose consciousness and was later declared dead at hospital.

    Archbishop Paglia told CNS that just as people were called to self-isolate in order to care for one another, racism can only be defeated by people caring for each other.

    “Today we must start a revolution of brotherhood. We are all brothers and sisters. Brotherhood is a promise that is lacking in modern times,” he said. “In my opinion, the true strength that supports us in our weakness is brotherhood and solidarity. And just as it defeats the coronavirus, it also defeats racism.”

    The fight against racism, he added, is done “not with violence but in the style of Martin Luther King, Jr.: with words, with culture, with faith, with humanism. It is fought the same way we fight against the coronavirus.”

    “It’s not enough to remain silent,” the Italian archbishop said. “To prevent the virus of racism from multiplying, those (who oppose racism) must also multiply.”

    He said the United States has had a vocation of helping others, not just themselves, but “I believe they have lost” that vocation.

    Archbishop Paglia said he believed Pope Francis should consider writing a document that addresses the subject of racism, a problem “all over the world.”

    However, he also noted that the Pope’s 2019 letter marking the 25th anniversary of the Pontifical Academy for Life reflects on many of the same divisions that exist in the world today.

    In the letter, titled “The Human Community,” the Pope said the sense of fraternity between people and nations has been weakened by the erosion of mutual trust and “remains the unkept promise of modernity.”

    “Mutual distrust between individuals and peoples is being fed by an inordinate pursuit of self-interest and intense competition that can even turn violent. The gap between concern with one’s own well-being and the prosperity of the larger human family seems to be stretching to the point of complete division,” the Pope wrote.

    Archbishop Paglia told CNS that brotherhood among peoples can only be possible “if the discussion passes to the fact that we are one family of 7 billion people.”

    “It’s not that I can say to my brother, ‘I don’t care about you’ because he’s the ninth brother and I only like the first five siblings,” he said. Nevertheless, “I am convinced that there is a great mission for American Catholicism” in the country.
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  2. Sunstone

    Sunstone De Diablo Del Fora
    Staff Member Premium Member

    Jul 2, 2004
    Non-Theistic Mysticism
    Paglia is so right on so many levels.

    Love the reference to MLK jr.
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  3. A Vestigial Mote

    A Vestigial Mote Well-Known Member

    Apr 23, 2015
    I honestly think the analogy works well on many levels. If the idea helps get people thinking, or viewing their own negative positions in a different light, that's great. I feel it also helps for racially-bigoted individuals to get hit from all sides with contempt, disdain and disappointment. If there are enough people they come in contact with who make them feel that what they are thinking/doing/saying is wrong, then they will be more likely to change. It's how any of us learn to curb socially-unacceptable behaviors we develop as we are growing and learning to deal with those around us.
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  4. sun rise

    sun rise "Let there be peace and love among all"
    Premium Member

    Apr 28, 2014
    The word "vocation" is meaningful. In the sense of this quote, I take that word to mean "a divine call to God's service".

    That statement distills what for me is the most true part of the Bible - the call to "uplift the fallen", offer a hand to the poor and suffering and eradicate the sin of racism and all discrimination.

    The US was founded on the self-evident truth that we're all created equal with rights that come from being human. Our 'Great Seal' speaks of a "new order of the ages".

    The history of the US has been the history of not living up to those ideals with the struggle to attain them and very painful and too slow progress.

    The ideal has not been lost - with each episode it gets stronger and a tiny, most painful step is taken in the right direction.
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