"The head of the U.S. Catholic bishops’ anti-racism task force told his colleagues that racism “lives in a particular and pernicious way” in the United States.
“Christ wishes to break down the walls created by the evils of racism,” Bishop George Murry of Youngstown told the bishops on Monday (Nov. 13) as they gathered in Baltimore for their annual November meeting.
“Racism still exists and has found a troubling resurgence in recent years,” he said, noting the “white supremacists and neo-Nazis [who] marched with hate-inspired messages in Charlottesville, Virginia,” in August.
“The hatred that is often in hiding for some was on full display,” said Murry, who is African-American.
Murry is chair of the U.S. Bishops Ad Hoc Committee Against Racism, which was established after Charlottesville by Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, archbishop of Galveston-Houston and president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).
Without naming names, Murray acknowledged that “some leaders and institutions within the Church have, at times, been part of the problem or failed to live up to our teaching in resisting racism.”
“But the Church as an institution and Catholics in all walks of life have also dedicated themselves, arm-in-arm with many others, to rooting out racism throughout the years,” he said.
He recalled the 1979 pastoral letter, “Brothers and Sisters to Us,”where the U.S. Bishops wrote: “Racism is a sin: a sin that divides the human family, blots out the image of God among specific members of that family, and violates the fundamental human dignity of those called to be children of the same Father.”
I appreciate the bishops' admission of the institutional church's complicity in racism in the past. The road to healing begins by admitting our failures, asking forgiveness and moving forward to treat every person as an equal and the face of God in our midst.
This statement condemning racism is important in our current U.S. milieu where hatred, racism and violence have emerged in police shootings of unarmed suspects, and in demonstrations like the one that took place in Charlottesville, Virginia,” in August.