Flowers are placed in security fencing around the U.S. Capitol in Washington Jan. 11. CNS photo/Erin Scott, Reuters
Flowers are placed in security fencing around the U.S. Capitol in Washington Jan. 11. CNS photo/Erin Scott, Reuters

WASHINGTON – The chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development is urging peace following the Jan. 6 violence at the U.S. Capitol and FBI warnings of armed protests at state capitols and other government buildings in the coming week.

“As a Christian, I must say to anyone considering further violence: You are being led astray by a voice that is not from God. St. Paul gave us a reliable test of what is from God and what is not,” said Archbishop Paul S. Coakley of Oklahoma City. “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.” (Gal 5:22-23)

“Please look into your heart. Look at the images of the events on Jan. 6,” he continued. “If you supported this, or are considering further actions in the coming week, ask: Is what I intend the fruit of the Holy Spirit? Are my intentions expressions of love for others, including those I may consider enemies? Are they reflections of joy? Will they lead to peace? Do they exhibit patience, kindness, gentleness, and self-control?”

“St. Paul names what is opposed to the Spirit: ‘…hatreds, rivalry, jealousy, outbursts of fury, acts of selfishness, dissensions, factions…’ (Gal. 5:20). Do not listen to those sowing hatred, anger, and divisions! They lead you away from God,” Archbishop Coakley said. “Though sometimes masked in deceit or seemingly demanded by fear, for your sake and the sake of others, do not mistake empty promises for the love and peace that come only from God.”