Prayer and a greater effort to listen to God’s voice must be the Catholic response to “the completely unthinkable events that have overshadowed the end of one presidency and challenged the beginning of another,” retired Bishop Edward K. Braxton of Belleville, Illinois, said at a Jan. 17 Mass at Blessed Sacrament Church in Belleville. Calling the present moment in the United States a “dangerous hour,” Bishop Braxton said God may be “urging us to think more and learn more about the causes of the political turmoil swirling around us.” “Could it be that, if we listen, God is calling us to be more responsible citizens by opening our minds to learn more about the many different and opposing factions that are causing such divisions in our country?” he asked.
We are facing a national crisis in the United States. As a Catholic Bishop striving to live by and teach the good news of justice and peace proclaimed by Jesus of Nazareth, I am compelled to name this truth. It is, in some way, a crisis of gun violence.
As you know, I am in Baltimore for the autumn meeting of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. On Sunday, I participated in the meeting of the Committee for the Protection of Children and Young People during which we discussed a number of issues critical to the current crisis. The Bishops spent yesterday primarily in prayer and listening to lay women and men expressing their concerns for those who have been abused by members of the clergy and their dissatisfaction with the way some Bishops have responded to this abuse.
In the prologue of his Dean’s Lecture on Race, Law and Society, “The Catholic Church and the Racial Divide in the United States,” Bishop Edward K. Braxton asked Notre Dame law school students a thought provoking question: “What if?”
Bishop Braxton’s Greeting to Young People at Celebration of Life March in Washington DC