Racism and our Christian/Catholic Faith 

Racism and our Christian/Catholic Faith 
  • Racism in Faith
Sheryl Anderson

Summer DEIB Blog  
 
The Director’s Letter

Dear Colleagues,

This summer I was blessed with a life-altering professional development opportunity. It was through DENA’s Racial Justice Coalition, “Education to Build a Racially Just World” Program. It was my privilege to take a class at The Catholic Theological Union, “Caste, Race and the Catholic Church: Implications for Spirituality and Ministry”. As a 53-year-old, African-American woman, Christian, educator, wife, and mother of two sons ages 23 and 16  I have seen and experienced much.  My religious upbringing and faith have carried me throughout all the stages of my life, yet it has also made me curious about the mysteries and unexplainable tragedies of life. Lately, I struggle with understanding the "WHY"  and how that drives issues of hatred, racism, and oppression amongst marginalized groups throughout the world. What is the connection if any with religion? In all my research, I found the church to take a very passive stance on racism and anti-black rhetoric. Catholic Social teaching is that racism, in any form, is a social sin. It is a virus in hiding. Jesus taught that all human life is sacred. This is the truth. So why does racism, and anti-blackness rhetoric even still exist? Especially within our churches, places of worship, and educational institutions.  It is our responsibility as believers to hold ourselves and the church accountable for this blindness to these practices. As disciples we are responsible for sowing the seeds of truth.

We must continue our cultural sensitivity, diversity, equity, and inclusion education and anti-racist work. Our voices and message of hope and faith need to be heard. We must speak TRUTH to power. The benefits of diversity and inclusivity and contributions of people of color, are not deficient, but rewarding. Cultural education is everyone's cross to bear. Thank the Lord, we know the cross is not the end. Jesus said “some won’t get it, but like the rock in the water, the water flows around it, eventually wearing the rock down”. As believers we are not responsible for the ground. God is the gardener in charge of the Harvest. We trust in God that the harvest is in abundance. This is what we call FAITH.

“Do not conform to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God " -Romans 12:22

 “Truth is the basic foundation and mother of Justice.” Fr. Bryan Massigale

This summer blog is focusing on Racism and our Christian/Catholic Faith  
Please join me as I attempt to look at this very sensitive issue. As always thank you for taking this DEIB walk with me. Educated, and united together, we are stronger. Stay safe and healthy.

Best Regards,
Marta Rhea-Johnson
Director of Diversity and Inclusion


This month’s blog topic is Racism and the Christian/ Catholic Faith


How can we disrupt a system that perpetuates inequality and white privilege? By educating ourselves, having courageous conversations, and creating authentic relationships with people who are different from ourselves.

Pope John Paul II calls for:
“A purification of memory, as a necessary condition for reconciliation in relationships between people.”

 International Theological Commission
“Aims at liberating personal and communal conscience from all forms of resentment and violence that are the legacy of past faults  because the consequences of past faults still make themselves felt and can persist as tensions in the present”
  

Resources

TED Talk
Why fighting for racial equity means reimagining justice
What if white people led the charge to end racism? | Nita Mosby Tyler
 
Youtube
Collegeville Connections: Anti-racism and the Catholic Church
Fr. Bryan Massingale: "The Racist Sitting in the Church"
Racism and the Catholic Church: Community Conversation
Fr. Bryan Massingale: How the church can combat racism and white privilege | Behind the Story 
‘Caste' author Isabel Wilkerson on America's race and class hierarchy
Tolton | A film about the first Black Catholic Priest in the United States
A Call to Transformative Love in Religious Life: Stories of Race, Place and Grace
  
Books

Caste: Origins of Our Discontents-Isabel Wilkerson
Racial Justice and The Catholic Church- Fr. Bryn Massingale 
 
Articles/Webinars
https://www.ncronline.org/news/opinion/assumptions-white-privilege-and-what-we-can-do-about-it
https://www.usccb.org/resources/open-wide-our-hearts_0.pdf
Catholic Article on BLM movement.pdf 
 
Having Tough Conversations
DEI Beverly Tatum.pdf