A Mob Comes to the Capitol


We pray that nothing like this will ever happen again in our beloved country.

We pray that we can turn the page and welcome a new administration in Washington that can lead us through the morass of an ongoing pandemic, severe economic distress and stubborn racial and income inequities.

We pray most of all that we can recover as a nation from the trauma of the violent and deadly insurrection last week that aimed to tear down the very foundation of our treasured democracy.

Those seeking a path forward usually make calls for unity, healing and tolerance after major tragedies like this. Sadly, we’re nowhere near ready to apply such words at this moment.

The out-of-control mob of Americans that came to Washington Jan. 6 to cheer on President Trump’s last ditch attempt to overturn an election he lost two months ago appeared absolutely gleeful as they stormed the U.S. Capitol, breaching its walls as the vice president and Congress carried out the nation’s business.

Some even carried flags with “Jesus Saves” emblazoned as a blasphemous motto. Others wore T-shirts with grotesquely anti-Semitic slogans, including one that read “Camp Auschwitz,” referencing the infamous Nazi death camp.

But make no mistake, the rioters were not rallying for or against God or country. Their cause was focused exclusively on keeping Trump as president no matter what the majority of voters said—a cause that’s also championed by millions of their fellow citizens.

That troubling reality presents President-elect Biden with yet another major challenge when he takes office Jan. 20.

The eruption in Washington that left five people dead including a Capitol police officer caused a seismic shock felt around the world.

Pope Francis said he was “astonished” by the events at the American Capitol. “Violence is always self-destructive,” he said. Cardinal Dolan, in his CNY column this week, said the “upheaval was made the more nauseating as it was seemingly encouraged by the one sworn to uphold the constitution and the rule of law, and because it trashed the very edifice designed to be a sanctuary of safety, reason, civility, and decorum, the arena of our freedoms, the U.S. Capitol.”

A statement by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops said, “This is not who we are as Americans…The peaceful transition of power is one of the hallmarks of this great nation.”

The shock waves from the events at the Capitol were still reverberating this week and will not end soon.

Many in Congress are pushing for a second impeachment of the president, for instance, even as his days in office dwindle, and some of the nation’s largest corporations have halted all political contributions while they evaluate the state of our politics.

As this editorial was being written, the Biden inaugural committee announced that “America United” will be the theme of the inauguration ceremonies.

Noting we’re at a time of “unprecedented crisis and deep divisions,” the theme is said to reflect “the start of a new journey to restore the soul of America, bring the country together, and create a path to a brighter future.”

Cardinal Dolan expressed a similar vision: “In the renewal and rededication that usually accompanies the inauguration of a new president, can we hope that violence will subside, that civil discourse will again become the norm for all sides, that a respect for the sacredness of all life and the dignity of the human person will be revived, and that the sanctuary of the womb will be off-limits to violent invasion?


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