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ST. LOUIS – The Archdiocese of St. Louis has issued a statement in response to protests yesterday at the Apotheosis of St. Louis, the statue of King Louis IX at the top of Art Hill in Forest Park.

The Archdiocese said in their statement that the public “should not seek to erase history, but recognize and learn from it.”

They defended the statue of the saint and recounted his road to sainthood. When ruling Louis IX “focused on impartial justice, protecting the rights of his subjects, steep penalties for royal officials abusing power, and a series of initiatives to help the poor.” The Archdiocese also noted that Louis IX performed numerous charitable acts such as feeding the poor and creating hospitals.

“For Catholics, St. Louis is an example of an imperfect man who strived to live a life modeled after the life of Jesus Christ.”

Their statement said they believe the statue should stay standing saying “for St. Louisans, he is a model for how we should care for our fellow citizen, and a namesake with whom we should be proud to identify.”

In response to the country’s history of racism and the recent protests, Archbishop Robert J. Carlson said, “scripture tells us to turn our swords into plowshares. Let us turn our guns into metal. May that metal someday be the statue in our community that stands as a reminder that here, in the Greater St. Louis Region, we chose justice so that there would be peace.”

Read the Archdiocese full statement below.