29 April 2015, The Tablet

Archbishop of Baltimore says Church must work to restore peace

by CNS

As Baltimore cleaned up after a night of riots, looting and fires following the funeral of Freddie Gray, Archbishop William E Lori said the church's place is to pray, be a voice for peace, and participate in a wider community dialogue to solve the systemic issues that led to the unrest.

Gray, 25, died on 19 April, one week after being arrested on a weapons charge and sustaining a severe spinal cord injury in West Baltimore, in the US state of Maryland, while in police custody. After his funeral on Monday peaceful protests turned into unrest later in the day, leading to damage of buildings and cars, and looting and fires.

The next morning, as Archbishop Lori, Auxiliary Bishop Denis Madden and other archdiocesan leaders toured the West Baltimore neighborhoods affected, adults and children with brooms were as numerous as the rioters the night before.

The Archbishop said during the unrest he called as many West Baltimore pastors as he could, and spoke to many of them.

"We will continue to do a lot of work, especially through Bishop Madden and the city pastors, especially on the west side," he said.

"First of all, let's pray. ... We need to strengthen our communities that they might be a force of peace. We need to participate vigorously in a citywide dialogue on the systemic issues that have really bubbled up to the surface here," the archbishop said. "It seems that's our role in this."

Public schools across the city cancelled classes yesterday. The Archdiocese of Baltimore did the same, closing all schools except for the School of the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen, located in Homeland, north of the violence.

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