U.S. Bishops Establish New Ad Hoc Committee Against Racism

August 23, 2017 By Public Affairs Office

WASHINGTON—TheUnited States Conference of Catholic Bishops today announced the establishmentof an Ad Hoc Committee Against Racism. Initiated by Cardinal Daniel N.DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, President of the USCCB, the committee will focuson addressing the sin of racism in our society, and even in our Church, and theurgent need to come together as a society to find solutions.

"Recentevents have exposed the extent to which the sin of racism continues to afflictour nation. The establishment of this new ad hoc committee will be whollydedicated to engaging the Church and our society to work together in unity tochallenge the sin of racism, to listen to persons who are suffering under thissin, and to come together in the love of Christ to know one another as brothersand sisters," says Cardinal DiNardo.   

BishopGeorge V. Murry, SJ of Youngstown, Ohio has been appointed by Cardinal DiNardoas Chairman of the committee. The membership of the committee will befinalized in the coming days and its mandate will be confirmed at the firstmeeting, expected very shortly.

"Ilook forward to working with my brother bishops as well as communities acrossthe United States to listen to the needs of individuals who have suffered underthe sin of racism and together find solutions to this epidemic of hate that hasplagued our nation for far too long," says Bishop Murry. "Through Jesus'example of love and mercy, we are called to be a better people than what wehave witnessed over the past weeks and months as a nation. Throughlistening, prayer and meaningful collaboration, I'm hopeful we can find lastingsolutions and common ground where racism will no longer find a place in ourhearts or in our society."

Thenew ad hoc committee has been formed upon the unanimous recommendation of theU.S. Bishops Conference Executive Committee and in consultation with members ofthe USCCB's Committee on Priorities and Plans. The establishment of thecommittee will also welcome and support the implementation of the pastoralletter on racism anticipated for release in 2018. The formation of the adhoc committee also follows the conclusion of the work of the Peace in OurCommunities Task Force. The Task Force was formed in July 2016 by then USCCBPresident, Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz, in response to racially-relatedshootings in Baton Rouge, Minneapolis and Dallas.

Almost40 years ago, the Bishops of the United States wrote a Pastoral Letter onRacism. Among the many things, they discussed was the fact that "Racismis a sin: a sin that divides the human family, blots out the image of God amongspecific members of that family, and violates the fundamental human dignity ofthose called to be children of the same Father."

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Keywords:U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Ad Hoc Committee Against Racism,Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, Bishop George V. Murry, SJ, U.S. Bishops ExecutiveCommittee, USCCB Committee on Priorities and Plans, Charlottesville, solutions,Peace in Communities Task Force, Pastoral Letter on Racism, human family, humandignity.

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WASHINGTON,August 23, 2017– Following is a statement from Cardinal DiNardo, President ofthe United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and Archbishop ofGalveston-Houston, upon the establishment of the USCCB Ad Hoc Committee AgainstRacism

InHis Image

AsSacred Scripture teaches, each one of us is made in the image and likeness ofGod (Gen. 1:26-27). The mission of the Church is to teach and to witness to theintrinsic dignity of the human person. Marches by hate groups such as the KKKand Neo-Nazis are outrageous to the sensible mind and directly challenge thedignity of human life. It is time for us to recommit ourselves to eradicatingracism.

Lastweek, after the evil events in Charlottesville, I convened variousconsultations with bodies of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.Based on that consultation, I am today announcing the establishment of an AdHoc Committee Against Racism. I am grateful to Bishop George V. Murry, SJ ofYoungstown for accepting the chairmanship of this Ad Hoc Committee.  Bishop Murry will speak more on the mandateof the Committee at the press event later today.

Prejudicecan lurk unnoticed in the soul. Withoutprayerful reflection, it can feed on the fear of what is different. It can grow into overt racism. But self-reflection is not enough. It must lead to action. May the work of theUSCCB serve as a call to conversion for those hiding behind white hoods andNazi symbols. The vile chants ofviolence against African Americans and other people of color, the Jewishpeople, immigrants, and others offend our faith, but unite our resolve. Let usnot allow the forces of hate to deny the intrinsic dignity of every humanperson. Let the nation and world see theone body of Christ move to the defense of our sisters and brothers who arethreatened.

Maytoday be a new beginning.

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