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More Catholic bishops, clergy, and laity say the Catholic Church needs to exercise a clear leadership role in the nationwide movement to reaffirm the dignity of Black lives.
Amid the nation’s mass protest over Black lives and dignity, and at the Mass on Aug. 28 commemorating Martin Luther King Jr.’s 1963 March on Washington, Archbishop Wilton Gregory declared, “We are at a pivotal juncture in our country's struggle for racial justice and national harmony.”
The archbishop noted the original civil rights movement was marked by the language of faith and declared the Archdiocese of Washington would launch its own initiative to bring clear, visible Catholic leadership into the fight against racial injustice. Read More
A Mid-City roadway named for the slave-owning president of the Confederacy will be renamed for an African-American educator whose vision transformed Xavier University, the New Orleans City Council agreed Thursday in a vote that lays the foundation for renaming other streets and landmarks.
The unaminous vote to rename Jefferson Davis Parkway as Norman C. Francis Parkway marks the first change to a New Orleans street named for a Confederate figure since protests against White supremacy and police brutality renewed calls for changes to the names of some streets and parks earlier this summer. Read More
In the mid-1970s, Mary Elizabeth Harper was eager to join the cheerleading squad at her all-girls Catholic academy in an Illinois town. When the team captain excluded her from tryouts with no clear explanation, the young Mary Elizabeth went to the principal.
“Your being on the team won’t look right,” Harper recalled the nun telling her. “After I pushed her for what that meant, it became clear the issue was my race.” The athletes and cheer teams were all white.
“It stabbed me in the heart,” said Harper, now in her 60s and a member of Resurrection Parish in Tualatin. Read More
In the archdioceses of Chicago and New Orleans, top leaders are encouraging their schools to place a new emphasis on teaching about racial justice, as well as the history of Black Catholics. The National Catholic Educational Association is forming an advisory committee to study how similar initiatives could be launched in the thousands of Catholic schools nationwide. Read More
"I expect our Church to be more proactive in addressing the sin of racism. I attended the National Catholic Youth Conference in recent years as a youth leader and was fortunate enough to attend sessions on racism. A priest from D.C. asked those in attendance how many of them had heard a homily on racism. The vast majority of those in attendance did NOT raise their hands. It was eye opening that in the 21st century, the majority of Catholics in attendance had never heard a homily on racism, when it is such a critical issue in our Church and World." Read More
From his childhood, when he preached to chickens in the dirt-poor South, to his decades as a moral force in Congress, religious faith was a constant in the life of Rep. John Lewis.
Lewis spent boyhood days as a make-believe minister, preaching to a congregation of clucking birds at his rural home in Alabama. As a teen, inspired by the oratory and leadership of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., he went on to become a civil rights activist in his own right while attending a Baptist college in Tennessee. Like the earliest evangelists of Christianity, he was beaten and jailed for speaking out when others were silent. Read More
It has come to the attention of some that Black Catholic women are not fully represented in the public dialogue of current events, including the COVID-19 pandemic, the ongoing slaughter of unarmed Black family, and the national protest movements staging across the nation. I am not altogether convinced that the Catholic press is interested in the perspectives of Black Catholic women except as a last resource in situations of racial crisis when dominant culture wisdom fails to satisfy. In a business world in which market share and the bottom line are principal considerations, it may not be prudent in a worldly sense to cover in-depth a demographic that represents 3% of the national Catholic population. Read More
As a father and Black man of faith, Carl Carby felt it was important to bring his 10-year-old, London, to march for racial equity on Saturday.
“This is history,” said Carby, who joined hundreds of others outside his parish, St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church, in Milwaukee.
“This is an opportunity for my son to participate in a legacy of making change. I’m trying to raise my son with the vision to treat everybody equally and to be treated the same way."
The demonstration, organized by the Archdiocese of Milwaukee's Black Catholic Ministry Commission, kicked off at St. Francis, a diverse parish just north of downtown. Read More