Tuesday, June 9, 2020

The Members of the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests, RCWP-USA Bishops' and Western Region Statements- A Call for Racial Justice, Non-Violence and Equality

A Call for Unity, Non-Violence, and Systemic Justice
from the Members of the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests

The Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests calls out our country’s history of neglect and violence toward our black sisters and brothers, including the recent police murder of African American George Floyd.  Every loss of life due to violence diminishes the life and inherent dignity of every person.  We all have a responsibility to take a stand as members of the human race to change structures of inequality and advocate for justice, non-violence and solidarity.

We reaffirm that the Spirit of God calls us to speak out against racial injustice and support legislation and policies that protect all citizens equally.

Racism, rooted in hatred and fear, is a dominator system that breaks our spiritual connection with one another, causing oppression on people of color and our indigenous population. While we believe that all life matters, it is especially important at this time of intense heartbreak to stand with our black sisters and brothers proclaiming that Black Lives Matter.

Mindful of the words of Martin Luther King Jr.:  I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear”, we call upon all people of the world to unite in creating non-violent solutions to these problems.  While we realize it takes centuries of active and energetic effort to dismantle unjust systems, there can be no peace on earth without addressing justice for all.  We bear witness in solidarity with all peace-loving protests throughout the world, as we strive to change the systemic structures that continue to perpetuate violence and inequality among people. Now is the time!

Statement of Solidarity and Commitment
June 7, 2020

Feast of the Holy Trinity

We, the undersigned International Bishops of Roman Catholic Womenpriests, express our anguish over the murder of George Floyd by police officers in the U.S.  We decry the failure of other officers to intervene.  We grieve this tragic, unnecessary death and all unjust deaths of African Americans,  people of color and indigenous peoples.
We acknowledge the systemic racism throughout the world which is the legacy of colonialism and slavery.  We acknowledge that all white people, regardless of life circumstances, are recipients of white privilege and entitlement in virtually every aspect of life.[1]
We soundly reject the assumption that white people’s lives matter more than the lives of people of color.  We affirm unconditionally that Black Lives Matter equally.
We are grateful to all those who participate in peaceful protest around the world to call for change, despite pandemic conditions. We are grateful to the law enforcement officers who participate in peaceful protests and make public acts of solidarity with victims of racism.  We are appalled by the lack of leadership at the highest levels of our governments that continues the plague of systemic racism.
Jesus of Nazareth reached out to the religious and political leaders of his time in service to their needs and in protest of unjust practices.  He reached out to individuals who were victims of racism, sexism, poverty and lack of access to health care. 
As Christian leaders, we commit to educating ourselves and those we serve about our complicity in racism and all forms of discrimination.  We commit ourselves to speak out against racial violence and all dimensions of racism in our various countries.  We commit to the task of dismantling racism in ourselves and in the communities we serve.  We invite all followers of Jesus to actively participate in these efforts.

+Jean Marie Marchant, Bishop, RCWP–USA Eastern Region – Boston, Massachusetts
+Nancy L. Meyer, Bishop, RCWP-USA Midwest Region – Brownsburg, Indiana
+Suzanne Thiel, Bishop, RCWP-USA Western Region – Portland, Oregon
+Jane Via, Bishop, RCWP-USA Western Region - San Diego, California
+Patricia Fresen, RCWP South Africa –Johannesburg, South Africa
+Jane Kryzanowski, Bishop, RCWP Canada – Regina, Saskatchewan
+Christine Mayr-Lumetzberger, Bishop, RCWP Europe - Pettenbach, Austria
+Ida Raming, Bishop, RCWP Europe—Stuttgart, Germany
+Marie Evans Bouclin, Bishop Emerita, RCWP Canada – Sudbury, Ontario
+Merlene Olivia Doko, Bishop Emerita, RCWP-USA Western Region - Pismo Beach, California
+Andrea M. Johnson, Bishop Emerita, RCWP-USA Eastern Region – Annapolis, Maryland
+Joan M. Houk, Bishop retired, RCWP-USA Great Waters Region – South Bend, Indiana
 Mary Keldermans, Bishop-elect, RCWP-USA Great Waters Region – Springfield, Illinois
[1] See the article of African American theologian Brian Massengale, S.J.  https://www.ncronline.org/news/opinion/assumptions-white-privilege-and-what-we-can-do-about-it)

Statement Against Racial Violence
June 4, 2020
We, the Roman Catholic Womenpriests and supporters of the Western Region of the USA, mourn the lives lost to racial violence and condemn systems of oppression.  We grieve with George Floyd’s family, Ahmaud Arbery’s family, Breonna Taylor’s family, and all families who have lost loved ones to senseless and racist acts. 
Our hearts are in solidarity with those who experience the continuing effects of widespread historical systemic racism.  We condemn racism in the United States, and in particular, the escalation of racial violence we have recently witnessed.  We affirm that Black Lives Matter.  White Catholics must stand in solidarity with the black community so that not one more person is murdered because of the color of their skin.   
With grieving, yet hopeful hearts, we renew our personal commitments in both prayer and action.  We commit to the work that must be done to make the Gospel Justice a reality.  We call on our local and national leaders to stand with the oppressed and assure justice for all people of color by changing the systems that allow racist structures to continue.  We demand concrete actions to put an end to the deeply rooted and deadly sin of racism in this country. 
Come Holy Spirit, renew the face of the earth.
The Roman Catholic Womenpriests-USA Western Region

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