In wake of Castile verdict, Archbishop Hebda calls for unity

| June 18, 2017 | 6 Comments

Two days after a jury’s acquittal of former St. Anthony Police Officer Jeronimo Yanez of second-degree manslaughter charges in the shooting death of Philando Castile sparked public protests, Archbishop Bernard Hebda called for unity.

In a June 18 statement on the Church’s feast of Corpus Christi, or the Body and Blood of Christ, Archbishop Hebda said the solemnity “draws our focus … to the Eucharist and its role as the sacrament of unity.”

“Let us be sure to pray that we, having been nourished by the Lord’s body and blood, might be instruments of unity in our families, our parishes and our communities,” said the archbishop, who leads the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. “I ask all Catholics and all who will worship with us this weekend to pray in particular for a mending of divisions along lines of race, religion and national origin, that all too often find expression in violence, hatred, prejudice and mistrust.”

He continued: “Let us look for opportunities as individuals and parish families to be promoters of authentic dialogue and encounter in our neighborhoods and communities. Knowing that Christ himself prayed that we might all be one, we can be confident that the Lord will bless our efforts to be peacemakers.”

Archbishop Hebda’s statement was issued following multiple public demonstrations protesting the June 16 verdict.

Yanez shot Castile, who was black, multiple times during a traffic stop July 6, 2016, in Falcon Heights, which contracts with the St. Anthony Police. The aftermath was livestreamed by Castile’s girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, who was in the vehicle along with her 4-year-old daughter. Yanez testified that he did not want to shoot Castile, but feared for his life after Castile told him he was carrying a gun and appeared to reach for it.

Although Castile was not Catholic, his funeral was held at the Cathedral of St. Paul in St. Paul.

According to the city of St. Anthony, Yanez will not return to its police force.


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Category: Local News