As the national board for the leaders of U.S. Catholic religious brothers and priests, we are called to discern wisely the signs of the times and to act courageously in our response. Gathering as a national assembly in St. Louis, MO this week, we continue to see the deep scars of racial injustice, white supremacy, and exclusion of many types of people of color in our country. We acknowledge our own sin and responsibility for racism in our lives, our religious communities, and our Catholic Church.
“Every proper conscience cannot help but decisively condemn racism in whichever heart or place it lurks. Unfortunately, it shows up in forms ever new and unexpected, offending and degrading the human family. Racism is a sin which constitutes a grave offense against God.” Pope John Paul II
Today, we revive our 2014 national assembly commitments to racial justice and to follow the Holy Spirit into new territory. We need to walk with Jesus into Jerusalem.
Thus, we commit to a long-term process of listening, dialogue, and accountability. This process will enable us to thoroughly discover the historical reality of racism, exclusion, and white privilege in our religious communities. Through such discovery we will generate concrete actions toward racial justice and solidarity.
This process will include engaging these stories and issues at our regional meetings leading up to a focused 2020 national assembly on this topic. We will provide key resources to our members to enable a fruitful and transformative process. We will also explore an anti-racism training for our upcoming board meeting.
Broad Goals of the Initiative
1) Courageous conversations about race and privilege: enable leaders to facilitate these
2) Generate concrete actions