O’FALLON, MO (KPLR) – There is outrage over a Sunday church bulletin from Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Parish in O’Fallon, Missouri.
An article in the weekly flier offered tips for white people to be better allies against police for African-Americans.
About a thousand copies of the bulletin were distributed after Sunday masses before some alerted Fr. Mitch Doyen, the parish pastor.
He'd been out of town all week and had no idea the article was in there, he said.
So, the same morning six police officers were shot (three of them killed) in Baton Rouge, LA, opened their Sunday bulletins an article on page 4 titled, 7 Ways to Be a Better Ally.
A closer reading revealed “tips for Caucasian people who recognize that police sometimes police kill African American people when lethal force is not necessary … Caucasian’s who’ve seen it happen so regularly”.
The article also advises readers to use their “Caucasian privilege for good” and be watchdog for African-Americans in interactions with police.
“I’m sorry that this happened. I am especially sorry for the harm that it’s caused for law enforcement officers and their families and the grief that they’ve experienced,” Doyen said.
He took full responsibility, even though a church staffer inserted the article while he was out of town.
He’s apologized in person to the O’Fallon Police Department, which is across the street from church.
Apology accepted, the police chief said.
Fr. Doyen has also sent a letter of apology to the close to 3600 families who account for the close to 10,000 parishioners of Assumption Parish. It thanks police and their families for their sacrifices.
He’s also using the incident as an opportunity to reinforce the church’s message and place in the social uproar now surrounding us.
“There’s healing that needs to take place in our community,” he said. “People are in great distress. The family members of anyone who’s been victims of violence, no matter what their color, those families members are going to be broken and enraged…we can’t align ourselves with extreme language on one side or the other. It just doesn’t help. I do think we can have compassion for the people who are so sad and so broken. All of them have something to contribute. They’re all children of god. It just shouldn’t be in our bulletin that way.”
Fox 2 traced the article to the blog, Care2.com. On the blog it's titled, "7 Ways to Be a Better White Ally after Police Murder Black People".
The person who slipped it into the bulletin is white and is no longer part of the bulletin staff, Fr. Doyen said.
From now on, he'll read every word of the bulletins on Wednesdays, before they go to print.