CHICAGO — As Mount Greenwood residents prepare for a massive protest Tuesday night, Archbishop Blase J. Cupich has a message for the mostly Catholic community: racism is a sin.
National attention has focused on the Southwest Side neighborhood in recent days, after Blue Lives Matter protesters were recorded on video shouting racist slurs at black protesters following the shooting death of 25-year-old Joshua Beal by an off-duty Chicago Police officer.
"Racism is a sin and has no place in the church, including the Archdiocese of Chicago," said Cupich, who recently was chosen by Pope Francis to become a cardinal. "Our schools must be places where all are respected and the values of tolerance and peacemaking are taught and nurtured."
Cupich's comments were directed at Marist High School, which is disciplining a student whose racist text messages went viral over the weekend.
"Marist High School is a privately operated school in the Archdiocese dedicated to Gospel values," Cupich said. "We support them as they take the necessary steps to deal with this situation swiftly and take appropriate disciplinary action."
Black protesters said they faced "'60s-style racism" in the area and had to be escorted to their cars by police as people from the opposing group hurled racial slurs at them and urged them to "get out" of the mostly white neighborhood.
On Twitter, one activist shared a screen shot of a text message reportedly sent by the Marist student, who said "I F------ HATE N------," to which one of her friends replied, "same."
"Hmm... White girls at Marist like that?" someone said on Twitter, tagging the high school in the tweet. "Can't wait to see the repercussions if they get any."
On Monday, the school responded on its website and Facebook page:
"This evening Marist High School was made aware of a racially charged post on social media involving Marist students. We are devastated by this situation. Disciplinary action is being taken. Marist is a diverse community, made better and stronger by that diversity. As a school community, we continually work so that each student feels welcome, valued, and safe.
"We have been and will continue to engage with diverse student leaders to give a voice to all students and to focus on shared values.
Given the tenuous times we all are living in and recent events at nearby Marist High School, our mission to make Jesus known and loved is more pertinent than ever. As always, the safety of our students is of utmost importance."
After he's elevated to cardinal in Rome on Nov. 19, Cupich will continue to serve as the leader of the 2.2 million Catholics in Cook and Lake counties, where he is leading an effort to overhaul the Archdiocese of Chicago's 351 parishes and 229 schools.
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