The Sin of Racism
Open Wide Our Hearts & Church Teaching
Racist acts are sinful because they violate justice. They reveal a failure to acknowledge the human dignity of the persons offended, to recognize them as the neighbors Christ calls us to love (Mt 22:39).”
– U.S. Bishops, Open Wide Our Hearts
Other Church Documents
- Fratelli Tutti (2020) – Pope Francis
- The Church and Racism: Toward a More Fraternal Society (1988, rev. 2001) – Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace
- Brothers and Sisters to Us (1979) – U.S. Bishops
“To those who have experienced racism, I care deeply about what has happened to you and I apologize for our failure to condemn the violation of your human dignity. It grieves me to know that I cannot undo the harm that has been done. It is my hope that my apology for the sins of our past can serve as a prologue for our path forward towards healing and reconciliation.” – Archbishop Hartmayer
- Archbishop Hartmayer’s Holy Week Statement on Racism
- Archbishop Hartmayer’s Statement on Chauvin Conviction
- Archbishop Hartmayer releases statement in wake of racial violence, protests
- Statement of U.S. Bishop Chairmen on Verdict in Trial of Derek Chauvin
- Statement of U.S. Bishops’ President on George Floyd and Protest in American Cities
- Statement of U.S. Bishop Chairmen in Wake of Death of George Floyd and National Protests
- Pope Francis: No tolerance for racism, but without violence
- Archbishop Lori: How church teaching can help explain why ‘Black Lives Matter’
- How to Talk About Racism – 3 Part Series ( Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 )
- Protagonists of Change: Youth, Racism, and the Role of Faith
- Empowering Church Leaders to Address Racism
- Empowering Church Leaders to Address Racism: Continuing the Conversation
- Just Mercy: An Opportunity for Church Leaders to Address Racism
- Racial Justice and the Catholic Church (2010) – Bryan N. Massingale
- Uncommon Faithfulness: The Black Catholic Experience (2009) – M. Shawn Copeland
- The Cross and the Lynching Tree (2011) – James H. Cone
- Four Hundred Souls: A Community History of African America, 1619-2019 – Ibram X. Kendi and Keisha N. Blain
- White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism (2018) – Robin DiAngelo
- How to Be an Antiracist (2019) – Ibram X. Kendi
Hosted by The Absalom Jones Episcopal Center for Racial Healing, Dismantling Racism is a one-day workshop that seeks to increase “racial understanding, healing and reconciliation.” Trainings are offered regularly, but fill up quickly as this program is required training for all Episcopal clergy and lay leaders. It is currently offered through Zoom.
JustFaith’s eight-week module awakens groups to the economic systems, public policies, cultural norms and hidden biases that empower some and oppress others. The first half of the module introduces a framework for understanding and recognizing racial disparities in power and privilege. Sessions 5-8 take a deeper dive into specific issues related to power and privilege, including affirmative action, the school-to-prison pipeline, the criminal justice system and powerful biases in media representation. As with all JustFaith programs, participants will explore how their faith should inform their response to their learning, as well as discern action steps for working toward racial equity in their own communities.
This resource from Bread for the World helps participants to understand the connections among racial equity, hunger, poverty and wealth. It is a good first step for people unaware of structural inequality, a support tool for those who want a deeper understanding of structural inequality and a source of information for experts who want to know the quantifiable economic impact of each policy that has widened today’s racial hunger, income and wealth divides.
At the link above, you will find a facilitator’s guides for both in person and virtual events, PowerPoint presentation and script, activity sheets and more.
Restorative justice can help us address a whole range of issues in a wide array of situations and communities. It is particularly useful in facilitating dialogue on the sin of racism. Catholic Mobilizing Network offers Paths of Renewed Encounter, which invites individuals and groups to embrace healing approaches to crime, harm and injustice while reflecting on the unique ways that Catholic ministries and teachings can shepherd processes that transform relationships, communities and systems. It draws on the experience of a wide array of contributors, the prophetic call of Pope Francis’ latest encyclical, Fratelli Tutti and the well-known pastoral cycle for social action.
This guide is designed for use by both individuals and groups.