I spent last Saturday in a fog as I watched the flames shooting out of many different buildings in Minneapolis. I did not know what to do with what I was watching; I had never experienced anything like this before. I felt sadness for those whose properties were destroyed and all the people in those neighborhoods who no longer had a grocery store or a pharmacy to go get what they needed. I understood the beyond heartbreak of the death of George Floyd in what seemed to be a callous manner. I, at first thought, as many others, that although it was horrible that George Floyd was killed; but this property damage had to stop. I later read from someone who put it in a greater perspective for me. They wrote: It is horrible to see property being destroyed; but this killing of innocent black men must stop.
As Catholics we are fundamentally pro-life for every human person. As such we must work towards whatever means that allows every human person to be respected and honored. It is sometimes easy to get caught up in the perpetrators lack of respect for others and think that they do not deserve any kind of respect themselves. Every so often I will tune into the “Cops” show. Often what I see impresses me; especially as I watch some very fine police officers handle whatever perpetrator that they have been called out for. They act with kindness and a shared humanity with the person being arrested. They are not allowing themselves to become like the element they are trying to contain.
I think that is for us to consider ourselves. With a pro-life ethic are we going to allow the misbehavior of another human being determine the course of our response? I think our response must be driven by the higher values that we embrace as a Christian community. I am not saying that we should let the wrongdoer get away with whatever they are doing, but I am saying our response should always be respectful to that human being. Being respectful is not equated with letting anyone walk on us. Instead it is equated with our genuine respect for all humanity.