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Combatting Racism


Bishops Address The Sin of Racism

Bishop Murry, of Youngstown, talks with the media about the new Ad Hoc Committee Against Racism. For more information, see the News Release

CNS Story: Bishop at forefront of initiative says racism demands church's attention

"Some of you said: this system can no longer be endured. We must change it; we must put human dignity again at the center and on that pillar build the alternative social structures we need. It must be done with courage, but also with intelligence, with tenacity but without fanaticism, with passion but without violence. And among us all, addressing the conflicts without being trapped in them, always seeking to resolve the tensions to reach a higher plane of unity, peace and justice." 

-- Pope Francis, 10/28/14

Church Statements and Background

Brothers and Sisters to Us - U.S. Catholic Bishops Pastoral Letter on Racism, 1979 | Selected quotes

25th Anniversary Executive Summary - We Walk by Faith and Not by Sight: The Church's Response to Racism in the Years Following

Reconciled Through Christ | En Español - Published by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in 2013, this publication explores the reconciliation and greater collaboration between Hispanic American Catholics and African American Catholics.

On Racial Harmony - A Statement by the Administrative Board, National Catholic Welfare Conference (August 23, 1963) that reaffirms the U.S. Catholic bishops' official position against racial discrimination and segregation.

Racism Backgrounder - A two-page background information sheet on systemic racism and the Church's response.

Selected quotes from Discrimination and Christian Conscience, a statement of the U.S. Catholic bishops (Nov. 14, 1958)

Bishop's Statements and Letters

A Statement of Support for the New Ad Hoc Committee Against Racism from the Executive Committee of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
September 12, 2017

USCCB Special Task Force to Promote Peace in Our Communities: Report and Recommendations
Nov. 10, 2016

USCCB President Calls for Dialogue, Peace in the Midst of Violence
July 18, 2016

USCCB President Calls for Prayers, Reflection, Civility and Dialogue
July 8, 2016

Love Thy Neighbor as Thyself: U.S. Catholic Bishops Speak Against Racism - In 2001, several bishops brought together a series of essays on the perspective of the different cultural families and on racism in general. Their insight remains relevant today and still relevant excerpts, collated in 2013, are available.

The Catholic Church and the Black Lives Matter Movement: The Racial Divide in the United States Revisited
Bishop Edward K. Braxton, Diocese of Belleville, IL
February 26, 2016

The Racial Divide in the United States: A Reflection for the World Day of Peace 2015
Bishop Edward K. Braxton, Diocese of Belleville, IL

Statement on Race Relations
Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz, Archdiocese of Louisville, Kentucky
President, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

Statement on the Occasion of the 50th Anniversary of the Civil Rights Act
Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz, Archdiocese of Louisville, Kentucky
President, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

Catholic Cultural Diversity Network Convocation, The University of Notre Dame Sacred Heart Basilica
Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory, Archdiocese of Atlanta
May 7, 2010

What We've Seen and Heard: A Pastoral Letter on Evangelization | En Español | Selected quotes
From the Black Bishops of the United States
September 9, 1984


Teaching Resources

Responding to the Sin of Racism Resources - This packet, which includes bulletin text, handouts, and memes, was compiled by various offices of the USCCB.

Diversity and Racial Justice Resources - The website of the USCCB Department of Justice, Peace and Human Development includes a Diversity and Racial Justice page that features videos and articles on this topic.

Resources on Racism for Youth Ministry Leaders - The National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministry (NFCYM) has compiled a list of resources on race for those working with youth. The page includes resources for families, small groups, and others. Link to:

Rebuilding the Bridge: 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Movement - The U.S. recently celebrated the 50th anniversaries of several important civil rights milestones. To commemorate these important events and the contributions of many Catholics to the civil rights movement, Cultural Diversity in the Church and African American Affairs, in collaboration with several other organizations, has launched Rebuilding the Bridge: African American Affairs' 50th Anniversary Initiative.

The Racial Divide in the United States - Most Reverend Edward K. Braxton, Ph.D., S.T.D., Bishop of Belleville (Illinois) shares his thoughts on racism in his pastoral letter and study guide, The Racial Divide in the United States: A Reflection for the World Day of Peace 2015.

Letter from Birmingham Jail Study Guide - In recognition of the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s Letter from Birmingham Jail, Christian Churches Together, one of the largest ecumenical organizations in the U.S., offered a response and created a Study Guide to facilitate reflection either for groups or individuals.  The webpage for this important document also has an additional introduction for Catholics to the Study Guide and an introductory letter from Bishop Madden and Bishop Flores.

Intercultural Competencies - This page explains the five competencies that were defined by the U.S. bishops in making "Recognition of Cultural Diversity in the Church" one of their priorities. The manual Building Intercultural Competence for Ministers can be found online or obtained in print from USCCB Publishing. Regional trainings on the competencies are being scheduled at this time. Visit the Intercultural Competency site often for updates. If interested in hosting or organizing a training, please contact Yolanda Taylor-Burwell at or 202-541-3152.

Civil Dialogue | en Español - This handout includes a reflection by Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington, on how Catholics can speak truth in love and engage in civil dialogue.

Learn more about Cultural Diversity

Cultural Diversity in the Church - The mandate of the Committee of Cultural Diversity in the Church, and its corresponding Secretariat, is to be present on behalf of the Bishops' Conference to the many cultures, ethnicities and races that today constitute the Roman Catholic Church in the United States. The goal is to encourage the inclusion and fuller participation of all God's People in the life and ministry of the Church by building up their Catholic identity in a spirit of unity in diversity.

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