The archbishop of Baltimore, where racial tensions and riots flared in 2015 following the death of Freddie Gray in police custody, said that the verdict should prompt Catholics to fight racism.
“As citizens, we must insist on the elimination of all forms of racism in our societal structures. Let us take personal responsibility in overcoming racism, prejudice, and other injustices,” said Archbishop William Lori.
Other bishops said that police officers must be held accountable for their actions.
“When officers fail to live up to their responsibilities, they should be held accountable, as it respects the victims of their actions as well as the reputation of their fellow officers,” Bishop Michael Burbidge of Arlington, Virginia stated.
Bishop John Stowe, OFM Conv., of Lexington, Kentucky, called the verdict “a long overdue result that finally brings justice for a Black victim of a brutal killing by police.”
“There are many other families who are longing for this kind of justice and recognition of the worth of the lives of their loved ones; we must work to make this verdict the norm rather than the exception,” he said.
The archbishop of Philadelphia recounted the “overwhelming” grief that followed Floyd’s death, and decried “the mortal sin of racism.”
“I pray that the Holy Spirit stirs up a desire in our hearts to look for solutions to the problems we encounter,” Archbishop Nelson Perez stated on Tuesday.
The USCCB vice president, Archbishop Allen Vigneron of Detroit, said that “social injustices still exist in our country and that together we must peacefully rebuild what hatred and frustration has torn down.”
Archbishop Charles Thompson of Indianapolis stated on Tuesday that "Mr. Floyd’s family said they want peace and do not want to see any further violence."
"Racism is not a thing of the past and we all must continue to work and pray that the God-given dignity of all people, especially those in our country whose voices have not been heard adequately, will be respected," he said.
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This story was updated on April 21.