ROME, Italy — Pope Francis has called for national reconciliation in the United States claiming that while racism is inexcusable, the street violence that has broken out is “self-destructive and self-defeating.”
The Pope broke his silence Wednesday on the tensions in the United States over the death of George Floyd in police custody on Memorial Day in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Protesters and rioters for days have taken to the street across the world demanding justice.
During his weekly General Audience, Pope Francis addressed the people of the United States saying, "I have witnessed with great concern the disturbing social unrest in your nation in these past days, following the tragic death of Mr. George Floyd...We cannot tolerate or turn a blind eye to racism and exclusion in any form and yet claim to defend the sacredness of every human life.”
Pope Francis asked Americans to implore God for “the national reconciliation and peace for which we yearn," and he asked the Mother of America to “intercede for all those who work for peace and justice in your land and throughout the world.”
He added that he is praying for the "repose of the soul of George Floyd and of all those others who have lost their lives as a result of the sin of racism.”
Outrage sparked throughout the United States and around the world after a video showed George Floyd, who is black, on the ground with his hands cuffed behind his back while Officer Derek Chauvin presses him to the pavement with his knee on Floyd's neck. The video shows Chauvin, who is white, holding Floyd down for minutes as Floyd complains he can't breathe.
Bystanders can be heard begging the officer to take his knee off Floyd's neck. The video ends with paramedics lifting a limp Floyd onto a stretcher and placing him in an ambulance.