Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller of San Antonio, Tex., regrets that his recent tweets about President Trump “were not focused on the issues but on an individual.”
“All individuals have God-given dignity and should be accorded respect and love as children of God, especially in our conversations and interactions,” the archbishop said in a bilingual statement. “We should be aware of this in our discourse about the Office of the President of the United States, which is due our respect.”
On Tuesday, Archbishop García-Siller tweeted that the president should “stop hate and racism, starting with yourself.”
The archbishop also released a video statement on Facebook.
On Tuesday on Twitter, Archbishop García-Siller tweeted that the president should “stop hate and racism, starting with yourself.” He also pleaded with Mr. Trump to “stop fake prayer” and said he had caused “too much damage already” in a series of tweets that has since been deleted.
The tweets came after shootings in Dayton, Ohio, Gilroy, Calif., and El Paso, during which gunmen took the lives of more than 30 people. In the aftermath of the shootings, many have connected the violent action to Mr. Trump’s political rhetoric.
The tweets came after shootings in Dayton, Ohio, Gilroy, Calif., and El Paso, Tex.
“Here in South Texas the nearby community of Sutherland Springs was the scene of such a tragedy two years ago,” Archbishop García-Siller said. “This evil makes no sense and will never be fully understood. Disbelief and shock are the overwhelming feelings; and there are not adequate words. There can be no justifiable explanation for such scenes of horror.”
The archbishop recalled the U.S. bishops’ document, “The Enduring Call to Love: A Pastoral Letter Against Racism,” which states: “Despite many promising strides made in our country, the ugly cancer of racism still infects our nation. Racist acts are sinful because they violate justice. They reveal a failure to acknowledge the human dignity of the person offended, to recognize them as the neighbors Christ calls us to love.”
“Every racist act—every such comment, every joke, every disparaging look as a reaction to the color of skin, ethnicity or place of origin—is a failure to acknowledge another person as a brother or sister, created in the image of God,” according to the document, which was approved last November.
“No one has the moral right to make racist statements,” Archbishop García-Siller said. “There is growing fear and harassment, and at times American public discourse uses rhetoric that instigates fear against foreigners, immigrants and refugees.... We do not need more division, but rather, we need to move forward in freedom to discuss these topics more deeply in light of the Gospel.”
According to a recent poll, 85 percent of U.S. adults believe political debate has become more negative. Around 55 percent believe Mr. Trump has worsened the tone of political rhetoric, and fewer than 24 percent believe he has improved it.