“The Challenge of Racism Today” Pastoral Letter

Today, I have issued a pastoral letter, The Challenge of Racism Today, which I invite you to read, reflect upon and share with others.  It is my hope that all of us in this archdiocesan Church might then join together in a renewed effort to confront what continues to be a grave evil and sin in our society, and to drive it and other intolerance out of our hearts, our lives and our community.

As I discuss in this letter, our faith helps us to see each other as members of God’s family, but that the divisive force of racism continues to be felt in our land and society.  We are called to face, confront and overcome this evil which has wounded so many in our nation’s history and still today.  It is imperative also to address other forms of intolerance and prejudice that are likewise a denial of fundamental human dignity and are obviously not a part of God’s plan that we are made equal in his image and likeness as part of one human family.

In this struggle to remove the attitudes that nurture racism and the actions that express it, we must show how the differences we find in skin color, national origin or cultural diversity are enriching.  Each person should be seen in his or her uniqueness as a reflection of the glory of God and a full, complete member of the human family.

Intolerance and racism will not go away without a concerted effort on everyone’s part.  But as members of the Church, failing to do so is not an option – we are called to be witnesses to the unity of God’s family and, therefore, to be a living testimony to the inclusiveness that is a graced sign of our oneness.  In this effort, we place our confidence in the Lord with the conviction that in some personal way ways we can help to resolve it.