Combatting Racism

We All Need to Take Responsibility - Cardinal DiNardo

 

 

“You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” Matthew 7:5

Plainly stated, for it is plain to see, we in America have a plank in our eye with regard to racism. This is a tough but necessary reality to confront, because we cannot address a problem until we acknowledge it.  This includes us as members of the Catholic Church.

Many in our society have been protesting in a show of solidarity with our brothers and sisters of color to push forward reforms to change our society.   The vast majority of the protestors have done so peacefully, while insisting - with determination and courage – that our nation change for the better.  Unfortunately, the use of violence by a small minority dilutes our focus away from the urgency of the reforms.

In the past, leaders of the Church frequently refrained from speaking out when acts of racial violence or other injustices have come to light. No more.

As the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) declared in their important and inspiring work “Open Wide Our Hearts” in November of 2018:

There have been many times when the Church has failed to live as Christ taught—to love our brothers and sisters. Acts of racism have been committed by leaders and members of the Catholic Church—by bishops, clergy, religious, and laity—and her institutions. Consequently, we all need to take responsibility for correcting the injustices of racism and healing the harms it has caused.

For Catholics, this is particularly an issue of faith because of our principles of social justice. The sin of racism is a pro-life issue.  All human life is made in the image and likeness of God without regard to race, national origin, culture, or religion. 

Since 2018, the USCCB has been conducting listening sessions; providing resources about racism to dioceses and parishes to begin important conversations about this evil.  We too in the Archdiocese have been engaged.  For more than a year, our Archdiocesan Pastoral Council has been working on goals and objectives, which essentially include the overcoming of racism. 

Like many of you, in these recent days filled with anguish and pain, I have also been moved by the acts of kindness and good from persons of all races and faiths – who have responded to this fundamental, genuine tragedy with the best in the human spirit. I think especially of the grace demonstrated by the Floyd family, insisting that their loved one’s killing inspire positive change.

Jesus, our Lord and Savior, calls us to reform and invites us to a new life. To love your neighbor as yourself is part of the Great Commandment that Jesus proclaimed. To forget self and serve others is part of our creed.

We must remember whoever exalts himself will be humbled.  Whoever views or holds themselves as superior to others has substituted their judgment for that of the Lord. That is a sin against God, and humanity. And it must end.

But we need more than words. We need action.

Quoting again from “Open Wide Our Hearts”:

The Christian community should draw from this central, ongoing encounter with Christ and seek to combat racism with love, recalling the insight of Pope Francis that “if we have received the love which restores meaning to our lives, how can we fail to share that love with others?” With the guidance of the Holy Spirit, this wellspring of strength and courage must move us to act. Consequently, we all need to take responsibility for correcting the injustices of racism and healing the harms it has caused.

George Floyd, like Eric Garner before him, died after pleading, “I cannot breathe.” We can only breathe again rightly with the help of the Holy Spirit, if we make it our constant work to eliminate the sin of racism in our society.


Catholic priests from the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis join African American clergy June 2 to march and pray at the site where George Floyd was pinned down May 25 and died at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer. Photo Credit: CNS photo/Dave Hrbacek, The Catholic Spirit


"The Bishops of Texas recently issued a message of prayers and condolences to the family of George Floyd for the events in Minnesota earlier this week. I want to add my own pastoral concern as George Floyd grew up in Houston.  Many of his family and friends are still here and I speak my own sorrow for his death. I also want to ask for the renewal of action that leads to the end of racism.  This reality still lingers in our society today, even in Houston.  We must continue to work to end this scourge on society."
- Daniel Cardinal DiNardo



 

Read the text of Pope Francis' statement


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Statements from Daniel Cardinal DiNardo and Texas Conference of Catholic Bishops - Death of George Floyd
The Bishops of Texas recently issued a message of prayers and condolences to the family of George Floyd for the events in Minnesota earlier this week. I want to add my own pastoral concern as George Floyd grew up in Houston.  Many of his family and friends are still here and I speak my own sorrow for his death. I also want to ask for the renewal of action that leads to the end of racism.  This reality still lingers in our society today, even in Houston.  We must continue to work to end this scourge on society.


Prayer to Overcome Racism




Pastoral Letter on Racism from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

Open Wide Our Hearts: The Enduring Call to Love - A Pastoral Letter Against Racism

Abramos nuestros corazones: El incesante llamado al amor – Carta pastoral contra el racismo


Combatting Racism - Educational Resources

Combatting Racism - Educational Resources from the USCCB

 


Combatting Racism - Parish Resources

Combatting Racism - Parish Resources from the USCCB

"Meeting the Challenge of their Times: Saints of Courage" with Meg Hunter-Kilmer
Webinar from the Office of Young Adult & Campus Ministry Office that highlights a racially diverse assortment of saints and shares their stories of courage for our times.