On Ash Wednesday 2017, an ecumenical group of Christian activists held vigil outside of the St. Paul’s Cathedral building calling attention to the Catholic Church’s reluctance in directly naming the xenophobia and racism that have characterized Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and presidency. The activists demand that Archbishop Hebda and the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis release a public statement that boldly addresses the rise of xenophobia in our church and society and encourages Catholics to reject Donald Trump and his hateful rhetoric.
The activists unveiled a banner on the Cathedral building that read, “Speaking up for unborn lives more than black and brown lives is white supremacy #silenceissin”, alluding to the presumption that many of the 60% of voting Catholics who justified casting their ballot for Donald Trump did so because of his “pro-life” campaign promises.
The activists also made ash crosses on the Cathedral property. The ashes were burnt copies of some of the Catholic Church’s most racist official documents, including the papal bull Dum Diveras (written by Pope Nicholas V in 1452) which justified slavery.
The activists also placed votive candles on the steps of the Cathedral and held prayerful vigil.