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Paulist Fr. Ronald Franco on the Riots in Washington, DC

Updated: Jan 14, 2021

In light of the recent violence in Washington, DC, we wanted to share the response of Paulist Father and former associate pastor of the Church of St. Paul the Apostle, Fr. Ronald Franco. Franco is currently serving as the pastor of Immaculate Conception Church in Knoxville Tennessee. To read his full response (along with many other excellent reflections), you can visit his blog, City Father, at

"What happened before the riot began was bad enough, as certain Republican senators and congressmen made a mockery of the constitutional process of counting the electoral votes with their transparently trumped-up allegations. Meanwhile the President himself was inciting his brainwashed supporters, who soon perpetrated the most serious violence against Congress and the U.S Capitol since the 1954 terrorist attack on the House of Representatives. (More dramatically, some of the TV commentators went all the way back to the British attack in 1814!)

Particularly troubling too was the apparent unpreparedness of Capitol security. After all, it wasn't as if there was no reason be be worried about possible disturbances and potential violence. Imagine if Black Lives Matter had attached the Capitol! The response would surely have been swifter and more severe - more like the violence perpetrated against peaceful demonstrators on June 1 to facilitate President Trump's sacrilegious Bible-holding photo-op.

But the principal villain is, of course, the President himself, who has repeatedly undermined his supporters' loyalty to American institutions. Some of that extremist alienation already existed in segments of our society and certainly preceded Trump. But he and his Republican sycophants have long since successfully exploited and dangerously exacerbated it. The damage Trump and the Republican party have done to this country has been incalculable. The question right now is how much more damage will our worst president and his political party still be able to do, and what can the country do to forestall it?...

...Politics is about achieving a common communal life among different individuals and different groups who have different aspirations and interests but are committed to remaining united together in one society. Trump and his supporters clearly care little for our common life and have deplorably demeaned the institutions created to keep our common life and sustain our society.

That is the legacy of our worst president and the Republican party which has empowered him."

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