After Baton Rouge police shootings, read this archbishop's prayer

New Orleans Archbishop The Most Rev. Gregory Aymond addresses inmates inside Orleans Parish Prison during a Stations of the Cross service on Good Friday, March 25, 2016. (Photo by Michael DeMocker, | The Times-Picayune archives)


In a clarion call to end the bloodshed that has flowed on streets from Baton Rouge to Nice, France, Archbishop of New Orleans Gregory Aymond urged local Roman Catholics on Monday (July 18) to look into their hearts and "ask God to take from us any hint of hatred and revenge." He also asked the faithful to pray for law enforcement officers.
Aymond issued his statement one day after three Baton Rouge officers were killed and three wounded in what authorities have described as a calculated attack on police. The police shootings came in the wake of local and national turmoil over the death of Alton Sterling, who was shot dead by police July 5 in front of a Baton Rouge convenience store.
"The events of the past few weeks have been heart-breaking as we see disrespect for human life, revenge, hatred and terrorism," Aymond said. "We have experienced bloodshed and murder in our neighboring city of Baton Rouge, also in Dallas, Falcon Heights, Minn., the stabbing in Kenner, the murder of a police officer in Jefferson Parish and the deadly attack in Orlando."

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The archbishop also called attention to last week's terrorist attack in Nice, the attempted coup in Turkey "and in the Middle East as Christians are killed daily because of their belief in Jesus." He said the world is all too often deaf to God's commandment, "Thou shalt not kill," and instead act out of anger, revenge and hatred.

Aymond asked the faithful to pray daily for peace, continue to seek ways to end racism and to instill in children a respect for human life and ways to express anger without violence. "Someone asked me, "Where is God?' My response is, 'God weeps! God weeps bitterly as we do not live out his dream for peace'," Aymond said. "Violence and racism divide us locally, nationally and worldwide."
The archbishop scripted this prayer:
"God have mercy on us in the United States and throughout the world as we refuse to follow your command of peace. Give your blessing to those who have died, their families and to those who protect us through law enforcement. Lord Jesus, we weep with you. Please use our prayers, hearts and hands to build peace in our families and in our world. Wherever in my heart there is a hint of violence and revenge, mercifully help me to a change of heart. Lord, let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me."