Our nation, and New York, in particular, are experiencing a massive increase in anti-Asian violence. Innocent people are being attacked for no reason, simply based on their ethnicity.
Recently, the Senate passed the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act, by a 94-1 vote, to address the attacks directed at Asian Americans and to create a group at the Justice Department to review potential COVID-related hate crimes.
Asian people in New York City, our neighbors, did not concoct the COVID-19 virus in their homes and businesses. Our neighbors did not plot to spread the global pandemic. To even think for a moment that the men and women, young and old who are our friends, whom we attend Mass and pray with Sunday after Sunday, caused the coronavirus is hateful, wrong, and, to be blunt, just plain stupid.
Rallies across the U.S. and New York City are condemning attacks against Asian Americans.
In the Diocese of Brooklyn, Father Vincentius Do, the Brooklyn Coordinator of Ministry to Chinese Immigrants, recently told Currents News that Asian Americans should not be afraid to speak up.
“One of the good things about these protests is that we bring this issue to the forefront so more and more people are aware of it,” said the pastor of St. Agatha, Sunset Park.
He encourages anyone who experiences discrimination and violence to contact the police and reach out to their parish for help.
This violence is often committed, it seems, by young people against helpless older people. This is among the many ways that these attacks are all the more vile. The question about what people of faith are going to do about this anti-Asian hatred is also an interior one for each Christian.
Do Catholics believe that each human being is created in the imago dei — the image and likeness of God — and, despite the presence of Original Sin (which is washed away in the sacrament of Baptism) and actual sin (for which we can be shriven if we have sorrow and a firm intention of amending our life in the sacrament of Penance) is fundamentally good?
Do Catholics believe that the Second Person of the Most Blessed Trinity, the Word of God, the Son, became incarnate, took flesh, and suffered, died, and rose again from the dead for all people and for the salvation of the world?
Do Catholics believe that, in the Pentecost event, the Third Person of the Most Blessed Trinity, the Advocate, the Holy Spirit came upon a crowd of diverse people, inspiring them to become one, helping them to become the Church, the people of God, uniting them in the one language of faith?
Do Catholics believe that the Apostle to the Gentiles, Saint Paul, is correct in his epistle to the Galatians 3:22 in which he writes: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus”?
If you do, then how can someone look the other way, thinking that it is not a big deal, when your Asian-American neighbors are being attacked and scapegoated?
Catholics in Brooklyn and Queens are blessed by the presence of our Asian populations. Let’s not forget this and let’s stand up for their rights!