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The U.S. bishops have named the reality of personal and systemic racism and they have called on Catholics to undertake the following tasks:
- acknowledge this sin,
- be open to encounter and new relationship,
- resolve to work for justice,
- educate ourselves,
- work in our churches,
- change structures.
You can find these and other resources on the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops “Combatting Racism” website.
Scholars have long explored these issues. Rev. Dr. Cyprian Davis was a seminal scholar in the history of the Black Catholic community in the United States.
More recently, Dr. Shannen Dee Williams, historian at Villanova University, has written extensively on the church’s history of slavery and segregation.
Dr. Tia Pratt, ACHS board member, sociologist of religion, and president and director of research at TNPratt & Associates, LLC, calls on the Catholic Church to recognize the impact of systemic racism on African-American Catholic identity and to support the black Catholic community.
Dr. Bryan Massingale, Roman Catholic priest and theologian at Fordham University, provides insight into the “soul sickness” that underlies the current and historical reality of racism in the United States.
To get started, please visit the Black Catholic Syllabus created by Dr. Pratt.
We will be posting additional resources on this topic. Please return to our site periodically for more information.