Hiltz calls for prayers following Barcelona, Charlottesville attacks

Around 1,000 people gathered near Bde Maka Ska, Lake Calhoun, in Minneapolis, Minn., to stand in solidarity with Charlottesville, Va., and speak out against racism. Photo: Fibonacci Blue/Wikimedia Commons
Published August 18, 2017

Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, has asked Anglicans to pray for those affected by the deadly attacks in Charlottesville, Va, and Barcelona, and to work for a more peaceful world.

In a statement, released earlier today, Hiltz said the violence in Charlottesville and activities being planned by white supremacy movements “have been a painful reminder that racialized violence is a sad reality of our time, not only in the United States, but in our own country too.”

He urged Anglicans to be “united, courageous and unwavering in denouncing racialized violence of every kind.”

Anti-racism protester Heather Heyer was killed and dozens injured August 12 after a car rammed into a crowd of demonstrators protesting a white supremacy rally in downtown Charlottesville.

Hiltz noted that “the escalation of racial tension and turmoil leaves many anxious about peace in their own neighbourhoods and throughout their communities.”

He urged Anglicans to join “people of good will of every political stripe and every faith tradition…praying for a peaceful resolution,” and to remember political leaders, police officers and emergency health services personnel in their prayers.

Hiltz’ statement joins a growing chorus of denunciations of white supremacy.

Michael Curry, Presiding Bishop of the U.S.-based Episcopal Church, released a statement   calling on Christians to model an alternative to bigotry by building what he called the “Beloved Community of God.”

Curry said, “As Neo-Nazis marched and chanted, “The Jews will not replace us,” we have seen the alternative to God’s Beloved Community. And that alternative is simply unthinkable.”

Other Episcopalian bishops issued their own statements denouncing the violence,  as did the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops  and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Reacting to the van attack August 17 along the Las Ramblas Boulevard, in Barcelona, Hiltz asked Anglicans to pray both for “all those traumatized by this atrocity” and for “those who with such malicious intent inflict such horrific suffering on others.” At least 13 people were killed and more than 120 injured in the attack.

In a statement, Hiltz called on Anglicans to pray that terrorists be “turned from their malice,” that “their hearts be moved and their plans thwarted.” He also encouraged Anglicans to join “people of all faith traditions who condemn the terrorism that stalks our world.”

Diocese of Ontario Bishop Michael Oulton also asked for prayers for the victims of the attacks in Barcelona and days later, in Cambrils, a coastal town in Spain.

“We are witness once again to the senseless brutality carried out by terrorist groups who seek to spread violence and fear among innocent people,” said Oulton in a statement issued Friday, August 18. “Today we pray the Coventry Litany of Reconciliation on the steps of St. George’s Cathedral. As the ministers of reconciliation we are called to be as Christians, we gather to pray each Friday at noon. We hold in our hearts the victims and families affected by this recent violence and seek to turn our prayers into action.”

The attack was the most devastating of a series of violent incidents across Catalonia, according to The GuardianThe Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the attack, but this has not yet been verified, said The Guardian.

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby expressed his grief over the violence on Twitter, saying he was “full of sorrow for those affected by the attack in Barcelona;” he also retweeted a Church of England prayer for help in times of distress.

Pope Francis released a statement through Cardinal Juan José Omella Y Omella, Archbishop of Barcelona, expressing his “deepest sympathy for the victims who have lost their lives,” and denouncing the “blind violence” of such attacks.



  • André Forget

    André Forget was a staff writer for the Anglican Journal from 2014 to 2017.

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