Christopher White writes:
American Catholics have “shown a lack of moral consciousness on the issue of race,” Bishop George Murry told attendees at the 2018 Catholic Social Ministry Gathering.
While he believes America has made progress on the issue of race relations, he said that “recent events in our country have questioned exactly how far we’ve come.”
Murry, Bishop of Youngstown, Ohio, was appointed as head of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) ad hoc committee against racism, which was established in August following the deadly, racially motivated protests in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Speaking on Sunday to more than 500 Catholic social activists who are gathered in the nation’s capital for a four-day conference and advocacy sessions on Capitol Hill, Murry chronicled the development of the Church’s position on slavery, noting that previously the Church considered there to be “just and unjust forms of slavery.”
Such teachings informed and shaped the American Catholic experience, and as Murry noted, “the subordination of blacks in America was simply an accepted part of the social and cultural landscape for Catholics and non-Catholics alike.”
While he praised the “remnant” of Catholics who worked to improve race relations in the U.S. – adding that, “there were many Catholic leaders, including bishops, priests, religious women in full habit, and university presidents who risked their lives to support the cause of racial justice” – these individuals “were the exception to the rule.”
“As the global Church has championed human dignity and equality, why does it appear that the Church in America has been incapable of taking decisive action and incapable of enunciating clear cut principles regarding racism?” he asked.
You can read his full report here.