The archbishop of New York, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, addressed nationwide protests over the death of George Floyd, as well as vandalism at St. Patrick's Cathedral, on Sirius XM Radio Wednesday, saying that Americans must pursue a peaceful resolution that is in line with God's teachings.
Dolan cited a joint statement he issued Sunday with the Religious Leaders Commission of New York, urging citizens to balance their anger with feelings of faith in pursuit of a peaceful resolution.
"Very often at times of crisis, we just feel that, uh oh, maybe they need a word of reminder of the faith and spiritual values, and we tried to do that," he said on Sirius XM.
"We quoted his mother and brother who called for peace and for us to abhor violence and not to exacerbate a situation that hopefully could lead to peace and reconciliation and the furthering of justice," he continued. "We just felt we needed to weigh in. Look, we're not politicians, we're not experts on police. We're not experts on crowd control, but we are supposed to be somewhat well-versed in God and God's revelation. So we felt maybe we can kind of bring an ointment to a very troubled situation."
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Dolan called the looting "mindless and destructive," before praising police officers for the work they do.
"The action against Mr. Floyd in Minneapolis was vicious. It needs to be condemned. It needs to be investigated. It needs to be tagged for what it is; a miscarriage of justice," he continued. "Secondly, we need to say that our police officers are tremendous people. They work hard. They try to be fair. They put their life on the line. They're willing to defend human life and the dignity of the human person. I've gotten to know and love them here in New York and darn it, they are wonderful people. They cannot be caricatured because of the action of one member."
Dolan also responded to reports of graffiti on the iconic St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City, saying he declined an invite to hold a news conference over the defacing of church property, opting to stay above the fray in an effort to avoid throwing fuel on the fire.
"My first reaction was, thanks be to God when we did the repair and the renovation of the cathedral, that we applied to the exterior marble of St. Patrick's cathedral a chemical -- that was safe, by the way, not toxic; environmentally sound -- that would protect the marble from absorbing the soot and the pollution around, which means it gets ashen again, and we'll have to repair it in 10 years. And -- if it were defaced with graffiti, it would be easier to clean up," he said.
"But I was saddened. Now, the police... they said to me, 'Cardinal Dolan, you need to come out, look at the graffiti and hold a press conference.' And I said, 'You know what? I don't like to give attention and give satisfaction to the misguided people that would do something like this. I don't want to show people that it got to me, even though it did. I'll let it speak for itself.' And it did. We received volumes of expressions of solidarity."
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He added: "The police officers did tell me... 'Cardinal it wasn't an act against the church.' They were running up and down Fifth Avenue, spraying, paint on everything. So they probably didn't realize it was a cathedral. They just thought it was a beautiful Fifth Avenue building, which it is, by the way."