Friday, March 13, 2009


from Catholic Online...

Racism is present in church, U.S. archbishop says, offering apology, committing to action

NEW ORLEANS, La. (Catholic Online) – Racism is present in the hearts of some Catholics and institutionally in the Catholic Church which the faithful must work to purge in thought and in action, said a U.S. archbishop in a comprehensive pastoral letter.

In the document, “’Made in the Image and Likeness of God’: A Pastoral Letter on Racial Harmony,” released Dec. 15, New Orleans Archbishop Alfred C. Hughes begged forgiveness for acts the church committed that were racially insensitive or did not promote racial harmony, and committed the church to action.

The pastoral was made available in its entirety in the Dec. 16 issue of the Clarion Herald (

“I want to express an apology for the way in which I or other members of the church have acted or failed to act,” he said. “I want to acknowledge the past in truth, seek forgiveness and recommit myself and our church in New Orleans to realizing the gospel message in our relations with one another.”

It was released on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the issuance by New Orleans Archbishop Joseph Rummel of the landmark and controversial pastoral, “The Morality of Racial Segregation.”

“In this 1956 ground-breaking message,” Archbishop Hughes said of his predecessor, “he announced that racial segregation was to be gradually dismantled in all Catholic schools in the Archdiocese. He stated unequivocally: ‘Racial segregation as such is morally wrong and sinful because it is a denial of the unity-solidarity of the human race as conceived by God in the creation of Adam and Eve.’”

The archdiocese celebrates “this courageous pioneer of racial integration,” Archbishop Hughes said, “even as we try to make a realistic assessment of the progress and the challenges that are ours today.”

....Institutional racism is also present in the Catholic Church, he said.

....The archbishop admitted that the church’s response “to this unjust situation has been uneven and often half-hearted.” He pointed to the church not working hard enough to make its teaching against racism known to the Catholic community and the public at large, in not giving racism “a high priority,” and not reacting quickly enough to deal with the issue of “white flight” from parishes.

He pointed to the painful suffering in post-Katrina New Orleans, noting that “the devastating flood water has brought home the still unaddressed issues which weigh heavily upon us: the unacceptably high rate of poverty among African Americans; the limited choices in education because of the failing public schools; the disproportionate percentages without health insurance; the difficulty in finding adequate affordable housing.”

....“If Katrina should enable us to develop public schools which truly teach the mind and form children in virtue; if Katrina should make it possible for us to provide health care for all our citizens including the most vulnerable; if Katrina should goad us into truly working together for flood protection, public transportation, economic development and housing communities which are mixed-income, interracial and culturally uplifting; if Katrina should give rise to more citizens and public officials who truly want to serve the common good, then God will have enabled us to transform tragedy into victory,” the archbishop said.

The archbishop addressed candidly “white privilege,” which he defined as “those with lighter skin color have certain advantages, privileges and benefits that persons of darker color do not enjoy.”

....He said that, while a white person may not espouse racial superiority, “anyone who has accepted social privilege at the expense of people of another race is complicit in the fostering of attitudes and behavior that unfortunately can feed racial disharmony.”

....The archbishop offered 27 specific pastoral “commitments of the archdiocese” to meet the challenge of racism. Included in them are:
- Promotion of liturgies that reflect the religious and cultural diversity of the archdiocese.
- Development of programs of racial and cultural education for clergy, staff, teachers and catechists.
- Creation of policies promoting minority vendor consideration in the archdiocese, especially having to do with the post-Katrina rebuilding effort.
- Development of initiatives to promote “strengthening of marriages and families in the lives of the poor.”
- Advocacy of initiatives in the state and nation on immigration reform, fair wages, housing, education and employment practices.
- Promotion of Christian and non-Christian collaborative efforts to fight racial and cultural discrimination.
- Development of parish efforts to nurture vocations to the priesthood, dioconate and religious life from African- , Asian- and Native-American and Hispanic peoples.

The archbishop, in a section of seven “recommendations for all Catholics,” urged “that we confront and reject any racial stereotypes, remarks and prejudices,” “refrain from membership in clubs or organizations which are not open to a racially or culturally diverse membership” and “vote for public officials who are committed to human life, human dignity and racial, cultural and systemic justice.”

“It is important for us to be able to say,” the archbishop stressed, “there is only one community in our new New Orleans.”

He offered a prayer that the Catholic community “become a place welcoming to linguistically, racially and culturally diverse people, a place of beauty, a place of safety, a place of peace, a place for spiritual enrichment and renewal. God grant us the grace, the wisdom and the courage to realize this vision.”

for the full article, see


Thom Curnutte said...

Way to go, Archbishop Hughes!

Will Burke now call for withholding communion from racists?


Brian said...

no comment....maybe this won't get censored.

Katherine said...

Dear Fake Brian,

Try posting under your real name. Also try not using the words "liar" or questioning other people's faith.

beachgirl said...

I would like to know how any true practicing Catholic could have voted for a man who supports abortion. Life trumps every social issue there is.

beachgirl said...

I would like to know how any true practicing Catholic could have voted for a man who supports abortion. Life trumps every social issue there is.

Anonymous said...

Yes, if a Catholic, if publicly manifesting in grave sin like the so-called prochoice candidates; holding racist attitudes and does not repent and amend their views, should probably be barred from the Holy Eucharist. I am not aware of Catholic who ran on a platform or an ideology of being a racist though like those who ran proudly about being "prochoice".

Katherine said...

I am not aware of Catholic who ran on a platform or an ideology of being a racist though like those who ran proudly about being "prochoice".

Then either you are very ill-informed or you have a very narrow and troubling definition of racism.

Susan said...

Then tell us, Katherine, EXACTLY who you mean. The person you are saying ran on a racist platform. You always make these insinuations but never clarify them. WHO????

Katherine said...

Barry Goldwater

Susan said...

Barry Goldwater was not a Catholic. Wasn't the question "a Catholic who ran on a racist platform???" Try again, Katherine.

Brian said...

Barry Goldwater was not a racist. Yes, he opposed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 but not because he was a racist, but because he believed (wrongly in my opinion) that it legislated things at the federal level that should have been kept local.

Goldwater had a long track record of being pro civil rights as a local Phoenix politician, but he believed that if I owned a business that business is my private property and I should have the freedom to decide who I do business with.

"You cannot pass a law that will make me like you -- or you like me," Goldwater told one rally. "That is something that can only happen in our hearts." "Our aim, as I understand it, is neither to establish a segregated society nor to establish an integrated society," he said. "It is to preserve a free society."

While I disagree with his stand on this particular issue as I see equal rights as being a federal issue under the constitution, I don't believe it is accurate to say Goldwater was a racist along the lines of Lester Maddox or George Wallace.

Thanks for pointing out that the earlier Brian is the fake Brian and is not me.

--The Real Brian who always uses his real identity

shiloh said...

Someone told me this Goldwater quote many, many years ago: "If I was president during the Vietnam War, I would have dropped sooo many bombs on N. Vietnam, the Vietnamese wouldn't have been able to grow rice for 1,000 years!"

Could never confirm if he actually did say this, but it sounds like something ole Barry would have said, I digress.

Re: religion, Goldwater was spot on when talking about the religious right ie the far right evangelicals who don't believe in the separation of Church and State and feel their god should be running the govt.

The McLaughlin Group did a show a couple years ago re: what the Founding Fathers thought about religion and what Goldwater thought about the religious right.

And of course we all should know many Europeans came to America to escape religious persecution, hence, ergo, therefore the Founding Fathers made freedom of religion and the separation of church and state part of the U.S. Constitution.

And re: racism. As I have said previously we are all racists, some more than others. And how we deal w/our prejudices ie fear and stupidity, determines how good of a Christian one can be, if one is a true believer in their particular faith.

take care, blessings

Katherine said...

Nor is Barack Obama Catholic. But thank you for acknowledging Goldwater was racist.

Goldwater's Vice-Presidential candidate, William Miller, was Catholic.

Kurt said...

Barry Goldwater was not a racist. Yes, he opposed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 but not because he was a racist, but because he believed (wrongly in my opinion) that it legislated things at the federal level that should have been kept local.


Would you not agree that it is generally the best practice to argue for and work for the enactment of good legislation like the Civil Rights Act rather than argue about the possible motives of people who are on the wrong side of such issues?

Brian said...

Yes Kurt, I would agree it is always best to argue the pros and cons of an issue rather than debate the motives or character of those who you are debating.

Unfortunately, both the right and especially the left would rather engage in personal attacks most of the time.

Susan said...

I never acknowledged that Goldwater was a racist. You never acknowledged the fact that you identified him as a Catholic.

Kurt said...


I am glad we can be together on this issue. And you are correct there are those both on the right and the left who do not follow it.

Rather than call the President a 'babykiller' or Goldwater a 'racist', let us simply argue for the merits of pro-life and pro-civil rights legislation that advances the common good.

Kurt said...


You be well advised to be more like Brian.

Susan said...

I wasn' talking to you, Kurt. I was asking Katherine to correct the mistake she made in identifying Goldwater as a Catholic. You would be well advised to mind your own business.
What about it, Katherine? Admit your mistake? I didn't think so.