Secondly, nonviolence seeks to "win friendship and understanding." This means, according to Lori, that every person's common humanity "is the basis for friendship that crosses the lines of race, ethnicity, politics and culture."
Nonviolence also seeks to "defeat injustice, not people." The archbishop said this principle seeks to deter "those who would harm the innocent and defenseless," while also persuading individuals against the evils of racism.
Additionally, nonviolence teaches that "suffering can educate and transform." This means that suffering is a means to purification, out of which a "pure and peaceful heart flows." The letter pointed to the witness of the early Christian martyrs who showed love in the face of violence.
The fifth principle of nonviolence rules that individuals should choose "love instead of hate." Lori encouraged a "radical form of love that refuses to engage in any form of violence." He noted that selfless love always seeks the good of the other in every relationship, which, he said, can powerfully transform society.
Nonviolence also believes that "justice will ultimately triumph." This means that hope rules every action, despite suffering and injustice, Lori said.
"These principles took shape as Dr. King held up the experience of his people to the light of the Gospel and the Christian Tradition. Thus, they constitute not an abstract philosophy, but an applied theology of liberation," he said.
"Dr. Martin Luther King Jr's principles of nonviolence call for a change of heart. However, they also call for action," said Archbishop Lori.
He said the archdiocese would use King's principles to actively challenge the local community through information, education, personal commitment, negotiations, direct action, and reconciliation.
To that end, the archdiocese has created a website to springboard discussions.
"I cannot do this alone. This is something we must do together," urged the archbishop.
The letter's plan of action includes four efforts: building the local network of services to more effectively serve the community; forming cooperative relationships among the parishes within the archdiocese; reaching out to people on the peripheries to personally walk with them; and promoting stronger efforts towards ecumenical and interfaith partnerships that will build lasting community.
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Lori also encouraged Catholics to work for the re-evangelization of each parish community in the archdiocese.
"For so many reasons, we do well to heed the prophetic teaching of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and to put it into practice," he said.
"Guided by his principles, we will take a further step in being 'a light brightly visible,' a Church that brilliantly reflects the light of Christ."
This article was originally published on CNA Feb. 14, 2018.