While placards are the go-to choice for protest marches, Archbishop Robert Rivas OP of Castries exhibited three placards during a Mass, June 8, with messages calling for an end to the sin of racism, exclusion, and injustice.
‘No to racism’; ‘Black lives matter’; ‘No to exclusion’; ‘No to the sin of racism’ the placards read.
“It’s a pity we have to say that, isn’t it?” the Archbishop pondered.
He warned, “If we don’t have the thirst for what is right, we won’t see justice.”
Trinidad-born Archbishop Rivas said that he would love to be able to say that he grew up in a society where people were not discriminated because of their “difference”.
“…where we integrated, [where] we prided ourselves of being cosmopolitan. But you know I will say even in most cosmopolitan societies sometimes there is prejudice…in terms of status, who has and who has not. And we treat each other accordingly and badly,” he said.
On the other hand, it is The Beatitudes, Archbishop Rivas said, that turns this attitude “upside down”. “And Jesus today is saying to look at life differently. ‘Blessed are those who humble and thirst for what is right for they shall be satisfied’.”
Archbishop Rivas referenced one of Pope Francis’ “favourite phrases”: ‘No to exclusion’, in which he speaks of a “throwaway culture” in the economy of exclusion.
To this end, he reiterated if persons do not know how to be humble and thirst for what is right, “George Floyd will continue to die”.
“He continued to cry out ‘I cannot breathe’. Who is going to breathe the breath of God into his lungs that he may live?” he questioned.
We all can do it, but not by exclusion, Archbishop Rivas asserted.
He then asked faithful to examine the sins and “new sins” they ought to confess.