from Gabino Zavala, Justice and Peace Director

The US Bishops, in a vote of 241- 3 with one abstention, approved a pastoral letter against racism during their November meeting in Baltimore.  This letter examines the “persistent” history of racism in our nation.  This report is particularly timely in that the FBI  recently reported that hate crimes have increased 17% in 2017 with the most common bias being “race/ethnicity/ancestry.”

The Bishops call Racism a particularly destructive and persistent form of evil that infects our nation.  This pastoral letter, Open Wide Our Hearts: The Enduring Call to Love, addresses a growing concern in our country based on a continuous history of discrimination and violence along with extreme nationalist ideologies.  With a posture of humility, the words of the Prophet Micah are highlighted in the letter as a way of acknowledging that  history of racism as a call to overcome the sins of omission when it comes to combating racism and in working for racial reconciliation.

You have been told, O Mortal One, what is good and what the Lord requires of you: Only to do justice and to love goodness, and to walk humbly with your God. (Mi 6:8)

The Bishops go on to say that racism not only resides within our hearts, but also in the social structures of our culture and institutions.  Therefore, justice is required so that we can put our world in right relationship with God, one another and creation.

The Bishops look at the Native American experience, the African American experience and the Hispanic experience to show how racism has been part of our past and continues in the present.

Read the pastoral letter, Open Wide Our Hearts: Our Enduring Call to Love.