Catholic bishops take on racism in society and the church

(RNS) – The head of the U.S. Catholic bishops’ anti-racism process force told his colleagues that racism “lives in a particular and pernicious approach” in the usa.

“Christ wishes to breakdown the wall space created by the evils of racism,” Bishop George Murry of Youngstown told the bishops on Mon (Nov. 13) as they collected in Baltimore for their annual November meeting.

“Racism even now exists and possesses found a troubling resurgence in recent years,” he said, noting the “light supremacists and neo-Nazis [who actually] marched with hate-inspired text messages in Charlottesville, Virginia,” in August.

“The hatred that is normally in hiding for a few was on complete display,” said Murry, who’s African-American.

Murry is couch of the U.S. Bishops RANDOM Committee Against Racism, that 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, Murry acknowledged that “most leaders and institutions within the Church have, sometimes, been part of the challenge or failed to live up to our teaching in resisting racism.”

“But the Church as a great institution and Catholics in every walks of life have also dedicated themselves, arm-in-arm with numerous others, to rooting out racism through the entire years,” he said.

He recalled the 1979 pastoral letter, “Siblings to Us,” where the U.S. Bishops wrote: “Racism is a sin: a sin that divides the individual spouse and children, blots out the photograph of God among specific members of that spouse and children, and violates the essential human dignity of those called to be kids of the same Dad.”

Since its creation in August, the RANDOM Committee spent some time working with the USCCB staff to create resources to aid in preaching and teaching against racism, some of which is available on the USCCB website.

The committee can be planning a countrywide ecumenical and interfaith convening to occur in 2018, reported Murry. “This event is meant to begin a series of listening sessions and dialogues about racism within and outside of the Church, incorporating its roots and impacts – spiritual and civil, specific and structural.”

Murry also reported ending up in people of Congress and their staffs to “learn about the work that is already being done, due to we consider thoughts about how best to move forward.”

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