Bishops React to Chaos at the Capitol in Statements and Tweets

“We fervently pray for peace and for God’s protection over our country, our lawmakers, and all those in harm’s way this terrible day.”

Riot police prepare to move demonstrators away from the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. on Jan. 6, 2021.
Riot police prepare to move demonstrators away from the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. on Jan. 6, 2021. (photo: BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI / AFP via Getty Images)

Editor’s Note: This article will be updated as further statements are released.

Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila (Denver):Let us pray for our country that peace and civility may reign in this time of transition! Jesus is the way to true peace, a peace no one can take away. Let us be his instruments of peace!”

Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone (San Francisco):

To attack the U.S. Capitol to express your fear that democracy has been denied is wrong, and also counterproductive. Doubts about free and fair elections cannot be redressed by violence against democratic institutions.

“To the deaths from a pandemic, and destruction wreaked on people's livelihoods, we do not need to add an attempted civil war. I called for an end to violence in the streets when it happened this summer. I call on every American of good will to denounce this violence against our nation's Capitol now.

“May the Prince of Peace put an end to this strife, and bring healing and constructive criticism in the place of mob rule.  And may God bless America.”

Bishop Daniel E. Flores (Brownsville, Texas):

“The Gospel itself is a full-throated and stern warning against mob action. If institutions of order & lawful transitions of authority are systematically deconstructed & trampled upon by factional self-interests, it leads to just that, a mob. Let the elected govern.”

Archbishop José Gomez (Los Angeles, USCCB President):

I join people of good will in condemning the violence today at the United States Capitol. This is not who we are as Americans. I am praying for members of Congress and Capitol staff and for the police and all those working to restore order and public safety.

“The peaceful transition of power is one of the hallmarks of this great nation. In this troubling moment, we must recommit ourselves to the values and principles of our democracy and come together as one nation under God. I entrust all of us to the heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary. May she guide us in the ways of peace, and obtain for us wisdom and the grace of a true patriotism and love of country.”

Cardinal Wilton Gregory (Washington, DC):

“Our United States Capitol is sacred ground and a place where people over the past centuries have rightly demonstrated, representing a wide variety of opinions. We Americans should honor the place where our nation’s laws and policies are debated and decided. We should feel violated when the legacy of freedom enshrined in that building is disrespected and desecrated.

“I pray for safety — of our elected officials, staffers, workers, protesters, law enforcement personnel, and neighbors to the United States Capitol. There are injuries and tremendous harm, including reports about the loss of life. Together, we must intentionally pause and pray for peace in this critical moment. The divisive tone that has recently so dominated our national conversations must change. Those who resort to inflammatory rhetoric must accept some responsibility for inciting the increasing violence in our nation.

“We are called to be a people of democratic values that respect the opinions of others, even when we disagree with them. As people of faith seeking to bring our Lord into this world by how we live, we must acknowledge the human dignity of those with whom we disagree and seek to work with them to ensure the common good for all.”

Archbishop Peter Comensoli (Melbourne, Australia):

A prayer for the people and nation of the USA, from the Liturgy of the Hours for this morning (OZ time), which will be prayed by them tomorrow. ‘God of hosts, bring us back; let your face shine on us, and we shall be saved.’ (Ps.79[80])”

Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio (Brooklyn):

“Please join me in praying for our Nation on this unprecedented day of national chaos, so that we can return to the rule of law. We are better than this. We as a people have always respected our differences. The peaceful transfer of power is the hallmark of our democracy.”

Archbishop William E. Lori (Baltimore):

“Our hearts are heavy as we witness the shocking and unlawful protests occurring in our nation’s capital. We fervently pray for peace and for God’s protection over our country, our lawmakers, and all those in harm’s way this terrible day. May peace-loving Americans of good will throughout the United States come together to engender peace, reconciliation and healing in our wounded and broken nation, which remains and must always be one, under God.”