In a homily delivered at two Los Angeles parishes this weekend, Archbishop José H. Gomez spoke out on the racial tensions that have been exposed in the wake of the Aug. 11—12 “Unite the Right” white-nationalist rally held in Charlottesville, Virginia. 

“We are seeing in our country a new kind of racism and nationalism,” Archbishop Gomez said this weekend. “It is a racism and nationalism rooted in fear. There is fear about what is happening in our society. There is fear about what is happening in our economy. Our country has become so angry and bitter, so divided — in so many different areas.”

Archbishop Gomez called on Catholics to work to overcome new forms of racism and nationalism and “every ideology that denies the equality and dignity of the human person.”

“This has been a hard week in our country,” he said, urging prayers for the people of Charlottesville and calling on Catholics to be “a true sign and instrument of healing and unity.”

“There is no place in the Church — and there is no place in American society — for racism or prejudice against people based on their race or nationality,” Archbishop Gomez said. 

He added: “The Gospel teaches us and the saints show us that beyond the color of our skin or the countries where we come from, we are all brothers and sisters. We are all children of one Father. And we all have the Mother of God as our mother.” 

Archbishop Gomez pointed out that the national debate over immigration reform has also been marked by “a lot of racism and nativism…even among Catholics.”

“This is all wrong and it needs to stop! Our task is to bring people together, to build bridges and open doors and make friendships among all the diverse racial and ethnic groups and nationalities in our country.”

He concluded his homily asking prayers for the nation and for the Church. 

“Let us ask for the grace to believe that God’s love can transform every heart that is hardened by hatred. And let us ask Mary Our Blessed Mother to intercede for us — that we might have the strength to keep building the family of God and keep building a society where every person is treated as a child of God.”