Racial Justice and the Catholic Church

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Overview

Confronting racism is difficult yet essential work to heal the brokenness in our society and our church. Racial Justice and the Catholic Church examines the presence of racism in this country from its early history through the Civil Rights Movement and the election of Barack Obama. It also explores how Catholic social teaching has been used—and not used—to combat racism and promote reconciliation and justice.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Lamenting that he sometimes feels “like a motherless child... a long ways from home” in his own church, Massingale, a black priest and moral theologian, levels a strong indictment of the Catholic response to racial injustice in this review and analysis. After answering the question “What is racism?” at some length, Massingale delves into Catholic history on the issue, taking apart three documents on racial justice from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in 1958, 1968, and 1979. Although he says the last two improved on the first, which offered nothing in the way of recommendations for action, none was marked by the depth of social analysis found in many of the bishops’ other social justice documents. To improve Catholic engagement in racial justice, Massingale proposes using such resources of the tradition as the practice of lament, compassion, solidarity, conversion, baptism, and Eucharist. The author’s moving personal reflections add a human face to his message, which readers who have a heart for social justice will no doubt find to be prophetic. (Feb.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781570757761
  • Publisher: Orbis Books
  • Publication date: 3/28/2010
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface ix

Acknowledgments xv

1 What Is Racism? 1

An Explanation of Terms 2

Prelude and Context: The Election of an African American President 3

The Browning of America and Racial Resistance 9

Racism and Culture 13

To What End? The Justification of White Privilege 33

Conclusion 41

2 An Analysis of Catholic Social Teaching on Racism 43

Prologue: A Context for This Discussion 44

Discrimination and the Christian Conscience (1958) 50

The National Race Crisis (1968) 55

Brothers and Sisters to Us (1979) 61

Analysis of Recent Statements by Individual Bishops 70

Critical Observations concerning Catholic Social Teaching on Racism 74

A Concluding Black Catholic Reflection: “Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child” 78

3 Toward a More Adequate Catholic Engagement 83

The Challenge of Racial Reconciliation 85

Other Resources in the Faith Tradition 103

Compassion and Intentional Cross-Racial Solidarity 116

Church Practices That Facilitate Racial Solidarity 120

Concluding Reflection: A Confession of Faith 125

4 “A Dream Deferred” Meditations on African American Understandings of Justice and Hope 130

The Fundamental Principle or Norm: Universal Inclusion 132

The Unstated Vision: The “Welcome Table” and the “Beloved Community” 135

Theoretical Implications of This Vision 143

The Importance of Hope in the Pursuit of Justice 145

5 The Vocation of the Black Catholic Theologian and the Struggle of the Black Catholic Community Speaking Truth to—and from—Two Traditions 151

The Vocation of the Black Scholar 153

The Vocation of the Catholic Theologian 157

The Vocation of the Black Catholic Theologian 159

The Challenges of the Black Catholic Theological Vocation 162

The Struggles of Being a Black Catholic Theologian 167

The Joys of Being a Black Catholic Theologian 169

The Significance of the Black Catholic Theological Vocation 172

Epilogue 175

Notes 181

Resources for Further Reflection and Understanding 213

Index 217

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  • Posted November 7, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    An Important Catholic Book

    When the U.S. Catholic Bishops published their 2007 pastoral statement "Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship", some wondered why racism was given attention along with abortion and other pro-life concerns. Fr. Massingale's book does a good job, I think, in explaining why racism is an important issue for Catholics. While abortion remains the foundational issue for Catholics ("a person can't enjoy human rights if he or she is not alive to receive them"), Massingale shows that after birth, a person's human dignity remains under attack, in this case because of racism. In other words, even if the Civil Rights movement seemed successful in eliminating the effects of racial discrimination, the effects of that same discrimination still lingers in the unwritten and unspoken way people think and act towards one another. I do not think Massingale is advocating that we ignore abortion, especially considering that African Americans have one of the highest abortion rates in the country. Rather, he is making the case that we must be aware that racism is still alive, even if things appear to be better for racial minorities now in comparison to what they were even 40 years ago. Hence, combating the effects of racism is consistent with Catholic social action.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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