Ending Racism Will Take More Than Lip Service Catholic Bishops Say

By Mask, Teresa | Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), April 4, 2000 | Go to article overview

Ending Racism Will Take More Than Lip Service Catholic Bishops Say


Mask, Teresa, Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)


It takes concrete actions, not just a change in attitude, to defeat racism, Illinois' Roman Catholic bishops said Monday in a pastoral letter on the subject.

The bishops were asked to address the issue of racism in 1994 by Catholics in black neighborhoods who felt unwelcome in local churches. The letter represents the latest step they have taken on the issue.

Chicago Cardinal Francis George said Catholics must change the way they vote, how they raise their children and how they react to racist behavior and jokes before true racial equity can be achieved.

There's no other way around it, Catholic bishops agreed at a news conference Monday in Oak Park as they addressed the issue of racism in the new millennium.

"Moving Beyond Racism: Learning to see with the eyes of Christ" was set to be released today in all six Catholic dioceses in Illinois in conjunction with the 32nd anniversary of the assassination of civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

The letter says racism is a sin. In order to eliminate racism, there must be a "transformation of mind and heart, a turning away from sin and an embrace of God's way for us," the letter says.

The letter includes several suggestions on curbing racism including: praying for it to end, seeking opportunities to learn from a person of a different race, electing public officials who work for racial justice and asking the media to publicize good people and actions in every racial group.

The Rev. Larry Dowling, pastor of St. Denis Catholic Church on Chicago's South Side, said the letter will spark discussion in his parish, which has struggled with issues of race.

Dowling said he has lost more than 1,000 white parishioners and about 600 white students in the last decade as the Ashburn neighborhood has become more integrated. …

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