Pope Francis telephoned the bishop of El Paso, Texas on Wednesday after the bishop joined a demonstration against racial discrimination to pray for George Floyd. Source: CNA.
Bishop Mark Seitz told local news website El Paso Matters that he received the two-to-three-minute call from Pope Francis on Wednesday morning.
They spoke in Spanish, Bishop Seitz said, noting that Francis “said he wanted to congratulate me”.
“I expressed to the Holy Father that I felt it was imperative to show our solidarity to those who are suffering,” the bishop added.
Mr Floyd was critically injured on May 25 during an arrest by Minneapolis police. He was taken to a local hospital where he died. His death has spurred widespread protests, which have been followed by looting and riots in numerous cities.
Bishop Seitz was the first US Catholic bishop to join the protests against racial injustice and police brutality which spread across the country after Mr Floyd’s death.
Along with a group of priests of his diocese, he knelt for nine minutes of silent prayer in memory of Floyd. Bishop Seitz held a sign reading “Black Lives Matter”.
Also on Wednesday, Pope Francis called Los Angeles Archbishop José Gómez, the president of the US bishops’ conference.
He called to convey his prayers and solidarity for Americans during the period of national unrest.
“He thanked the bishops for the pastoral tone of the Church’s response to the demonstrations across the country in our statements and actions since the death of George Floyd. He assured us of his continued prayers and closeness in the days and weeks ahead,” Archbishop Gómez wrote in a statement.