Martin Luther King Jr hailed as an example of 'artisans of peace'

Martin Luther King Jr hailed as an example of 'artisans of peace'

Credit: Minnesota Historical Society via Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)
Credit: Minnesota Historical Society via Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

.- Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston has called civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. an exemplar of the “artisans of peace” called for by the pope.

King “was a messenger and true witness to the power of the gospel lived in action through public life,” read the statement from the president of the USCCB to mark Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

“We are thankful for the path forged by Dr. King and the countless others who worked tirelessly and suffered greatly in the fight for racial equality and justice. As a nation and as a society, we face great challenges as well as tremendous opportunities ahead.”

King is remembered as a Baptist minister and the most visible leader of the civil rights movement, for which he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964, and as the founding president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. He was assassinated in 1968 at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee.

Cardinal DiNardo noted the US bishops' recent pastoral letter on racism, which aims to “name and call attention to a great affliction and evil that persists in this nation, and to offer a hope-filled Christian response to this perennial sickness. Racism is a national wound from which we continually struggle to heal.”

“Today, remembering how Dr. King contended with policies and institutional barriers of his time, many which persist today, we renew our pledge to fight for the end of racism in the Church and in the United States. We pledge our commitment to build a culture of life, where all people are valued for their intrinsic dignity as daughters and sons of God,” the cardinal wrote.

“We encourage Catholics and all people of good will to study the pastoral letter, and to study and reflect upon Dr. King’s witness against the destructive effects of racism, poverty and continuous war.”

Cardinal DiNardo also called “on everyone to embrace our ongoing need for healing in all areas of our lives where we are wounded, but particularly where our hearts are not truly open to the idea and the truth that we are all made in the image and likeness of God.”

He concluded quoting King's words that “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.”