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In conference address, Pope Francis praises George Floyd protesters as 'collective Samaritans'

In a message to a global gathering of social justice activists, the Holy Father once again backed protests over the past year and a half for Black lives.

Pope Francis has once again spoken out in support of the George Floyd protests, this time in an address to the fourth World Meeting of Popular Movements (WMPM)

The gathering, a Vatican-sponsored event bringing together social justice organizations from around the world, was held virtually on Saturday, with Francis speaking via pre-recorded video message.

“Do you know what comes to mind now when… I think of the Good Samaritan? …The protests over George Floyd,” he said.

“This movement did not pass by on the other side of the road when it saw the injury to human dignity caused by an abuse of power.”

The comments echoed those from his general audience at the Vatican in June 2020, where he prayed for Floyd and lambasted “the sin of racism” as thousands watched online.

His “Let Us Dream” book released last December similarly referenced Floyd—as well as the resulting Black Lives Matter protests, which spread across the world last summer.

Francis alluded to the book’s overall theme multiple times during yesterday's wide-ranging address, which like the text covered everything from war to fake news to Universal Basic Income.

WMPM, founded by Francis in 2014, most recently held a regional event stateside in 2017, sponsored by a number of US Catholic organizations—including the US bishops’ Catholic Campaign for Human Development.

The one American sponsor for yesterday’s global event was a carry-over from that US gathering: PICO National Network, an ecumenical organization led by Black Protestant minister Alvin Herring.

Nate Tinner-Williams is co-founder and editor of Black Catholic Messenger, a seminarian with the Josephites, and a ThM student with the Institute for Black Catholic Studies at Xavier University of Louisiana (XULA).

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