Monsignor Kevin Sullivan: In the Aftermath of Charlottesville

Posted on August 16, 2017 by admin  |  Share

Let Us Strive to Bind Our Nation's Wounds

Dear Friends,

This morning I am in the Dominican Republic visiting a children's home sponsored by Maestro Cares, the foundation of singer Marc Anthony.  The compassionate and healing work done with these 40 youth is closely aligned with the caring work of so many of our Catholic Charities agencies. This work rebuilds lives torn apart by violence, neglect, disrespect and many other reasons. I feel very much at home.

And yet I feel deeply disturbed as back at home, our nation continues to reel from the violence, hatred, divisiveness and deaths in Charlottesville this past weekend.

Let me share with you words that reflect my own thoughts. 

"We have no tolerance for hate and violence from white supremacists, neo-Nazis or the KKK." These dangerous fringe groups have no place in American public life and in the American debate and we condemn them in the strongest possible terms." (Vice President Mike Pence).

Catholic Charities’ mission and daily work is so antithetical to the lack of decency and humanity demonstrated when members of one race with a lighter skin color think themselves superior to those with darker skin and choose to rally about their supremacy in a way that provokes anger and violence against others.  This is not limited to race but extends to disrespect and disdain based upon religion, class, gender, culture and much more.  Sometimes, no nuance is needed.  This is wrong, unacceptable and people of good will must raise their voices to proclaim the dignity of each person as made in the image of God and worthy of dignity and respect.

We must "make statements," but this is insufficient. We must redouble our efforts and actions that demonstrate respect, reconciliation, compassion and justice.  In fact this is what so many of our Catholic Charities family of staff, volunteers, trustees and benefactors do - day in and day out.  We extend an open hand to the most troubled and forgotten by the mainstream of society.  Thank you for this, so many times over, often without sufficient recognition. 

The wounds of evil cut deep and the scars are most visible.  And so the healing is not accomplished by one action in a single moment or even a few actions over a brief period.  Whether it be our agencies, our professional work or our individual personal lives; each day, consistently, we must be the instruments of God's love in a world that knows too much hate. This means saying, over and over again, no to that which divides and destroys, and saying yes to that which draws together and creates.

I quoted the current Vice President earlier.  Let me close by quoting the President from another era - even more bloody, divisive, hateful and deadly than our own:

"With malice toward none, with charity for all... let us strive to bind up the nation’s wounds." (President Abraham Lincoln) 

Thank you.  Let us pray for one another.   


Monsignor Kevin Sullivan