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Dwell In My Love
A Pastoral Letter on Racism
by Francis Cardinal George, O.M.I.

4. Conclusion: An Agenda for Addressing Racial and Systemic Injustice

Holy Scripture and Catholic social teachings proclaim the dignity of the human person and enjoin us to reform the structures of our society that ignore and undermine this fundamental truth. We are called not only to a radical conversion of heart but to a transformation of socially sinful structures as well.

Following are some suggestions for taking the necessary steps to dwell in God's love and to address racial and systemic injustice:

Archdiocese

  • Provide sessions on the importance of ethnic and racial diversity for Archdiocesan and parish staffs, pastors, principals and teachers.
  • Evaluate administrative hiring patterns so that persons in managerial and decision-making positions in the Archdiocese reflect the ethnic and racial composition of our diverse Catholic community.
  • Identify and nurture vocations among African Americans, Hispanics, Asians and Native peoples to serve as priests, deacons, religious women and men, and lay ecclesial ministers.
  • Educate for ministry in a racially, ethnically and culturally diverse Archdiocese.
  • Implement the Archdiocesan purchasing policies, which commit us to doing business with minority vendors.
  • Join support groups working for racial justice in the workplace, i.e. Project Equality.
  • Avoid investing in companies that tolerate racism.
  • Advocate for improved public transportation, allowing people in inner city and neighboring suburban communities to take jobs in out-lying suburban areas.
  • Support church-based community organizations that work for economic justice.


Parishes

  • Participate in Archdiocesan programs, such as the Workshops on Racism and Ethnic Sensitivity, designed to bring about better race relations in the parishes and neighborhoods.
  • Foster hospitality in general but especially to those that are culturally different from the dominant culture of the parish.
  • Participate in programs to identify and nurture vocations among African Americans, Hispanics, Asians and Native peoples as priests, deacons, religious women and men, and lay ecclesial ministers.
    Identify demographic trends in the parish, specify the particular issues of racial and ethnic diversity facing the parish and establish strategies to address these challenges from a vision of faith. Network with other parishes working for racial justice in their communities. Watch always for the destruction of neighborhoods by covert redlining.
  • Participate in civic and ecumenical/interfaith organizations that work to promote racial justice.
  • Begin the "Welcoming Our Neighbor" process in the parish by sponsoring a couple of families to transition out of public housing into the parish neighborhood.
  • Participate in the Archdiocesan Sharing Parish program and develop the sharing relationships across racial and cultural lines.
  • Take part in church-based community organizations that work for economic justice

Liturgy

Liturgy is the worship of God. It should not be manipulated into directly serving any other purpose, even with good intentions and for a good cause. Nonetheless, the liturgy should make visible the unity which incorporates the diversity of Christ's people. It makes intercession, through Christ, for the forgiveness of our sins, including the sin of racism, and gives us the means to become a holy people.

  • Develop liturgical resources to celebrate unity in diversity and express the sinful nature of racism.
  • When appropriate, celebrate liturgies where the expression of our faith is reflected in the religious symbols, music and history of the many different peoples that make up the Archdiocese.
  • Sponsor an annual Lenten service focused on racial reconciliation.
  • Plan a Sunday as an anti-racism Sabbath.
  • Include prayers for racial reconciliation and an end to racism in the intercessory prayers at the weekend liturgies.
  • Preach on racism and racial justice.
  • Celebrate through liturgies and festivals the racial and ethnic heritage of parishioners.
  • Develop homilies for Pentecost, Corpus Christi and Trinity Sunday which interpret the assigned scriptures from the perspective of the call to human and ecclesial unity of all peoples in Christ.
  • Pray for guidance and an end to racism, asking the intercession of saints such as St. Martin De Porres, St. Katharine Drexel, St. Josephine Bakhita, St. Peter Claver, Bl. Kateri Tekakwitha, Bl. Juan Diego, and others who have especially promoted racial harmony and social justice.

 

Catholic Elementary Schools, High Schools, Colleges and Universities

  • Support the efforts of the Office of Catholic Schools' Racial Justice Committee, the Principals' Anti-Racism Committee and Catholic Schools Opposing Racism (COR).
  • Diversify faculties and search for administrators and teachers that will be role models, especially for students of color.
  • Use multicultural learning materials.
  • Offer educational events that deal with racial justice, not only with the principles of our faith but with the history of our country. The enslavement of African Americans, the wars against the Native peoples, and the struggle for equality before the law should be taught and analyzed in the light of faith.
  • Integrate in art, music, literature, history, science and religion courses the contributions of Hispanic,
    Asian, Native and African American peoples.
  • Continue to work for justice in funding Catholic schools in order to give all students the education necessary to experience personal success and contribute to the common good.
  • Publish materials on racism in the public media and on the Archdiocesan website.
  • Offer adults the opportunity to enter into a tutor-mentor relationship with underprivileged and at-risk students.
  • Engage schools, especially schools in the parish-sharing program, to do student cultural and academic exchanges.

Community Action

  • Continue to support the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, the anti-poverty program of the United States Catholic Conference, which aims to help poor people address the root causes of poverty.
  • Watch real estate, housing and land use policies, especially in the communities where the Church owns land, in order to oppose economic segregation and foster the development of affordable housing.
    Support mass transit development throughout the metropolitan area.
  • Advocate for "fair share housing," in which a percentage of subsidized housing units are reserved for poor people in every municipality.
  • Support just housing principles, so that mortgages can be obtained by the poor, and the negotiations of sales or rentals do not include price fixing, steering or blockbusting.
  • Promote tax-sharing policies between wealthy and poor communities. These policies establish more equitable tax bases and lower tax-rates everywhere, allowing poorer communities to attract jobs and to pay for social and public services.
  • Defend life by supporting legislation that opposes abortion and the death penalty.
  • Support local organizations that work for fair housing and racial harmony, such as the Leadership Council for Metropolitan Open Communities and the Human Relations Foundation of Chicago.
  • Vote for public officials committed to racial and systemic justice.

For more information, contact the Office for Peace and Justice (312) -8390 and the Office for Racial Justice (312) -8336.

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