Readers’ Responses Winter 2021 are letters to the editor about our print articles and may include comments to our web and social media posts.
I am contacting you regarding the article by Gregory Darr in the September/October 2020 Maryknoll magazine. A line on the first page states, “On the site of the murder of George Floyd, a Minneapolis man renews his resolve to combat racism.” To my knowledge, there has been no trial of the officer and conviction of “murder.” I found the officer’s actions reprehensible and a murder conviction is possible, but it is irresponsible of Maryknoll to be judge and jury and declare a murder was committed. It is ironic that an article about racism and social justice eclipses the justice system by declaring “On the site of the murder …” I’m keenly disappointed.
Editor’s Note: Thank you for your letter. Your point is well taken. The word “murder” does carry a legal meaning. In fairness to Mr. Darr, he did not use the word murder in his text. We editors are at fault. We were not intending to presume any possible trial or verdict in the matter. We have received emails and letters criticizing the article and in support of it. It was never intended to be a news article or to condemn police or condone violence in any form. Rather it was a reflection by Mr. Darr on his experience of racism, the persistence of it and the urgent need to change it.
The recollection in the latest Maryknoll magazine of Greg Darr’s experience in 1992 Philadelphia was very moving and illustrates how humanity wins out at the most unexpected times. I lived in Minneapolis 20 years ago and loved it. I was saddened at how the actions of some police and rioters and looters this summer showed the worst of a very fine city. I lived six blocks from where George Floyd was killed and had wonderful neighbors on whom I could depend in any emergency. After this horrible incident, I would have been on the street, too. But destruction and stealing did not honor Mr. Floyd. I’m afraid outside opportunists took advantage of a social disturbance to enrich themselves.
Sister Patricia Tekippe, FSPA
La Crosse, Wisconsin
I read with sadness the article “Honoring George Floyd” in your September/October 2020 issue. While his death was tragic, I marveled at the photos of signs that called the spot where he died “sacred space.” Has there been an article in your publication honoring the many men and women of law enforcement who are killed each year or who have been ambushed and murdered because of the violence that has ensued after George Floyd’s death? My husband spent almost 30 years protecting people as a law enforcement officer in a large city, so we know firsthand that the vast majority of those who put on a uniform every day are good, decent, hardworking people. Every human life is precious and should be safeguarded whether that life is innocent in the womb of its mother or that of a career criminal. Your article perpetuates the misconception that the police are the enemy and furthers division in our communities. The black population is not targeted by police in this country, and a few police men and women who commit wrongful acts do not represent even a small fraction of the whole.
El Dorado Hills, California
INCLUSIVENESS FOR ALL
I really enjoyed the September/October 2020 issue of Maryknoll magazine and the fine articles, especially “Honoring George Floyd,” “Walking With Jesus Today” and “Sharing God’s Love in India.” Those mentioned in the articles defend the weak and confront injustice. I am impressed by the message of tolerance and inclusiveness for all people. This is in sharp contrast to the judgmental and narrow-minded spirit that seems so prevalent in today’s world. What distinguishes the persons in these articles is a deep internal spiritual life based on the teachings of Jesus Christ combined with service to others. They realize Christ came to give comfort to the disturbed and to disturb the comfortable with the truth.
Your September/October 2020 edition claims that creation is the first sacrament. This is a blatant falsehood as Jesus instituted exactly seven sacraments and the creation of the world is not a sacrament. Check the Catechism and you will see what the seven sacraments are. Naming creation as a sacrament plays into the idea that the earth has primacy over people. Catholic teaching is that man is the pinnacle of God’s creation. The world is here for his careful stewardship and use.
Mrs. John P. Burke
The photo reflection on creation titled “The First Sacrament,” written beautifully by Father Joseph R. Veneroso in the September/October issue, captured my spiritual hunger and led me to relate to the recent words of Pope Francis: “Today we hear the voice of creation admonishing us to return to our rightful place in the natural created order—to remember that we are part of this interconnected web of life, not its masters.”
I humbly look at myself in this interconnection as a steward with a responsibility to take care of God’s creation. This COVID-19 pandemic is a wake-up call for me and our society to live a simple lifestyle and get rid of our wants and greed. Nowadays, there is so much materialism and consumerism. We must allow earth, our only home, to rest, breathe and restore her natural beauty. Father Veneroso’s lovely lines resonate with Psalm 24: “To the Lord belongs the earth and all that fills it.”
Brooklyn, New York
Feature image: While following COVID-19 protocols, newly ordained Maryknoll Father Gregory McPhee gives his first priestly blessing to Maryknoll Father Michael Duggan.