Fifty Years Later: Catholics Still Fighting for Racial Justice

This past weekend, I had the honor of representing Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good and Millennial at a panel entitled A Catholic Conversation on Race, Religion and the March on Washington

The event, co-sponsored by Catholic Democrats and Pax Christi USA and hosted by Holy Redeemer Catholic Church in DC, discussed the gritty reality of the Church’s response and non-response to racial and economic justice issues throughout the past fifty years in the United States.

Quite simply, it was an all star lineup.

Moderated by Ralph McCloud–the executive director of the Catholic Campaign of Human Development, panelists included Secretary of Labor Tom Perez, John Carr of Georgetown University and formerly of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), Sister Patti Chappell of Pax Christi and Donna Grimes of the USCCB.

The broad stroke conclusion I came away with was that the Catholic Church has been a co-worker in the racial justice movement, but at times has failed to be the prophetic voice that Christ calls us to be.

It is especially important as attempts begin across the nation to curb the voting rights of minority populations.

If our Church and its leaders put a tenth of the resources into civic and economic rights that it puts into the pro-life movement, we would forever change the fabric of American society.

Yes, we were there in 1963, and yes, we are here in 2013 fighting for racial justice. But our efforts must be redouble, refocused and refined.