Young and old, black and white, religious and secular voices have combined to denounce these killings. We join in the national mourning of this tragedy and offer prayers for the families and loved ones of the deceased officers.
(Cardinal Sean P. O'Malley issued the following statement July 8 in the wake of the ambush of Dallas police officers July 7 that left 5 officers dead and 7 wounded.)
The assassination of five members of the Dallas Police Department last night was a heinous crime that is rightly condemned across our country. Young and old, black and white, religious and secular voices have combined to denounce these killings. We join in the national mourning of this tragedy and offer prayers for the families and loved ones of the deceased officers.
These killings stood in stark contradiction to the spirit of the event, which brought hundreds of citizens to an assembly of peaceful protest in Dallas, similar to other such events around the country. The Dallas Police Department was there to provide protection for those who were peacefully exercising their constitutional right.
The purpose of the protest was to raise awareness of and call attention to a problem which cuts across the country. We are now in the second consecutive summer of turmoil linked to the deaths of African-American men in circumstances which often cast a pall over some methods of law enforcement. Each case must be evaluated on its merits and generalized statements often risk being mistaken. But to deny the existence of a problem is to miss an opportunity to address it.
There is a problem; addressing it will take the kind of cooperation which the Dallas community and its police officers demonstrated before a twisted mind desecrated an event that had a valid and necessary purpose. The means and methods of addressing the problem will require the best of our civil servants and the best of our citizens.
It will require respect for the law and respectful enforcement by police and legal authorities. Most of all, it will require all Americans to respect each other.
These killings in Dallas remind many of us of another assassination in that city more than 50 years ago. Only months before his death, President Kennedy had said of the struggle for civil rights that it was as ancient as the Scriptures and as clear as the Constitution. The struggle continues: we mourn with the City of Dallas and with families across the land who have lost loved ones to this struggle. It is again time to face our problems of racial justice and civic peace. May God be with us."
Cardinal Seán P. O'Malley, OFM Cap. Is Archbishop of Boston
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