The National Catholic Review

In their 1979 statement Brothers and Sisters to Us, the Catholic bishops of the United States did not hesitate to label racism “a sin” and a violation of “the fundamental human dignity of those called to be children of the same Father.”

Racism can be called our nation’s own specific “original sin.” The existence of slavery cast the shadow of hypocrisy over the otherwise noble proclamation of the rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness in our Declaration of Independence. The greatest number of Americans killed in war to this day was during the Civil War, which had the conflict over slavery at its roots. For generations our political life was distorted by the influence of public officials whose foremost goal was to preserve the essence if not the form of slavery in a segregated and discriminatory social system.

Race and the Church in the United States

The bishops who declared racism a sin in 1979 did so in full knowledge that racism was a plague not merely in society at large but had even invaded the church, which too often conformed to the prejudices of society in its own interior life. Happily, in the decades before the statement was issued, numerous Catholics, including clergy and religious, gave witness to their awareness of the evil of racism by participating in the civil rights movement. Through words and actions, these men and women helped focus the nation’s attention on the discrimination and segregation that was allowed to flourish in our midst and on the personal and social devastation which these practices inflicted on so many of our fellow citizens.

In the early 1960’s one bishop, Archbishop Joseph Rummel of New Orleans, excommunicated outspoken opponents of his plans to desegregate the archdiocesan schools, including a powerful local politician. In this he received the support of the Holy See whose spokesman, as reported by The New York Times, said that “any Catholic unwilling to admit the fundamental equality of all human beings...proclaims that he is not a Catholic.”

All the clergy, religious and laypeople who joined Martin Luther King Jr. and the other leaders of this great movement shared the hope that American society could and would overcome this evil.

As we draw near an election day on which one of the major party candidates for president is for the first time a person of African-American ancestry, we should be able to do so with a sense that whatever the outcome, America has crossed another threshold in healing the wounds that racism has inflicted on our nation’s body politic for our entire history. However, in view of recent media reports regarding race-based voting, this potentially healing moment could turn into the infliction of one more wound if racism appears to determine the outcome. Because of that menacing possibility, it is worth recalling for Catholics and all Americans the central affirmation of Brothers and Sisters to Us: racism is a sin.

A Renewed Commitment

Last November the bishops issued Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship, the most recent of the documents we issue every four years during the teachable moment of our most important national elections to acquaint Catholics with their responsibilities in the forum of public policy. In that document we spoke of the things we must never do as individuals or a society because they are always incompatible with the love of God and neighbor. We cite the taking of innocent human life as one example of such intrinsically evil actions. Racism is another.

In any election people have many reasons to support one candidate or to oppose another.  Some of these reasons may be wise and good, some not so good, and others simply wrong. The promotion neither of abortion nor racism can ever be a motivation for one’s vote. Voting for a candidate solely because of that candidate’s support for abortion or against him or her solely on the basis of his or her race is to promote an intrinsic evil. To do so consciously is indeed sinful. That is behavior incompatible with being a Christian. To allow racism to reign in our hearts and to determine our choice in this solemn moment for our nation is to cooperate with one of the great evils that has afflicted our society. In the words of Brothers and Sisters to Us, “It mocks the words of Jesus, ‘Treat others the way you would have them treat you.’”Blase Cupich

Bishop Blase Cupich of Rapid City, S.D., is an occasional contributor to America.

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Michael | 11/7/2008 - 9:22pm
ECCO HOMO For 25 years I've worked on a friend to understand the horrors of abortion. Two years ago he voted against Prop 6 in SD. This year he committed to voting yes on 11 to ban abortions. And then our Bishop plays the race card. He and other pro life non-Catholic friends who have approached me asked "what the Bishop was doing?" We're not racists. But he accuses us of being so." Where was the Bishop's statement regarding the treatment of Pro-Life women and how rudely they are treated in society? We can't display Pro-Life material in the Church during elections, but the Bishop, who I have tried to defend, and lost friends doing it, chooses to slap race in our faces. I wish there was a stand by the Bishop, half as strong in support of "Life" in 2006 and 2008 as there was for Race. The Bishop made race an issue. "Ecco Homo" Render unto Caesar.
John de La Salle | 10/30/2008 - 12:15pm
My Dear Bishop, You seem to suggest that voting for a non-racist candidate (McCain) for racist reasons and voting for an avowedly pro-abortion candidate (Obama) for non-abortion reasons are morally equivalent. They are patently not so. To engage in racist acts is gravely evil, yes, but to assure the death of hundreds of thousands more innocent children (as Obama has pledged to do by signing the Freedom of Choice Act)is far, far worse. Even if you are opposed to his evil intention, since your vote is necessary to its accomplishment and so a direct cause, and since there is no proporationate evil to be avoided thereby (has McCain pledged to kill hundreds of thousands of innocents?), it would be immediate material cooperation in a gravely evil act. I'm sorry to say that you have sided with Herod in condoning the death of the innocents. God forgive us all if we elect him.
frjimt | 10/29/2008 - 12:00pm
Let's see, what is the number 1 medical procedure done in the US today? Abortion. What is the largest age group having this "procedure"? College age students. Where are the 48 Million children murdered by abortion? Certainly not in the classrooms, malls, streets, homes of America. So, they haven't been even given the chance to fight against racism. To put them on equal footing tells me that the mitre is a bit too tight...... perhaps blaise might read CL from JPII and Benedict's writings in this regard.....
Maria Teresita Macasieb | 10/28/2008 - 5:29am
I like Obama because I am a minority and met discrimation all my life here in the US till this time, but it doesn't affect me, I am still a beloved CHIlD of GOD and MARY, that are more important to me than these little persecutions. If Obama is PRO-GOD which is PRO-LIFE,and if he believes in JESUS, His Son, born from the womb of Mary, who is the Author of LIFE - I will be 100% democrat and so I pray for his change of heart, with these few days remaining that could still change my vote. LET LOVE of GOD and His people reigns. GOD does not give us a choice, HE COMMANDS us TO LOVE the LIFE HE ALONE COULD GIVE!
Maria Teresita Macasieb | 10/28/2008 - 5:17am
I love Obama, I have not met him but I met good Moslems in Casa Blanca, and another in the Bronx and what they portrayed to me is JESUS, the only thing I vote for is not for Obama of for McCain but LOVE-no color, let LOVE reign, let alone LOVE, where it began in the MIND of GOD! It was conceived first in His thought and was enfleshed in the womb like Jesus in Mary. God's love is saving not killing even in the womb for it even survives even beyond the tomb. Morality comes first! This is my vote, for GOD and not for man! GOD first before men. Creator before creation!
Dennis Mallon | 10/24/2008 - 4:15pm
I remind you that the Holy Father, BenXVI noted: politicians and we have “a duty to be morally coherent”—an explicit rejection of a attempt to distinguish private from public positions—the note insisted that “a well-formed Christian conscience does not permit one to vote for a political program or an individual law which contradicts the fundamental contents of faith and morals.” The killing of the unborn is not on the level of racism. I am reminded by my visit to America the National Catholic Weekly and the preaching of Blase Cupich (he has no right to be called bishop) that I will not look either for news or advice.
Militia Christi | 10/24/2008 - 10:22am
Marie Rehbein, The prolife's oposition to Obama's Freedom of Choice Act is not because we can't mind our own business, so to speak. It is because the Freedom of Choice Act is falsely labled and packaged. This act would actually eliminate the other choices a woman would have other than an abortion. It would eliminate all safety and regulatory laws regarding abortion currently on the books. And it would make it even harder for a woman to choose not to have an abortion by eliminating many of the pregnancy crisis centers we have today that offer financial and emotional services to women but do not offer abortion. Contrary to what this Act claims to be by it's title, it is anything but prochoice. It is pro-abortion only.
Marie Rehbein | 10/24/2008 - 8:43am
A President in the US does not have the power to make women have abortions when they do not want them, even if he signs the Freedom of Choice Act--or more correctly, especially if he signs the Freedom of Choice Act.
Bill Parks | 10/24/2008 - 4:56am
Obama asks too much of Christian voters. He said, "Well, the first thing I'd do as President is sign the Freedom of Choice Act. That's the first thing that I'd do." That is asking a lot to accept for a practicing Catholic or any believing Christian. I agree with what many Catholic leaders are saying about the situation we are in. "If we are to take Obama at his word, his first priority as president would be to serve an early death sentence on millions of unborn Americans." said a prominent American Catholic. Another said, "In one hand Obama offers us lower income taxes but in the other hand he asks for the blood of innocent aborted children. Obama supports fatal neglect of lives and he asks too much of devout Christian voters -- in exchange for giving them generous tax deductions. He imposes the death sentence on children before they are born." I read on a blog, "In the past, Obama voted against an infant protection bill which required that a baby who survived an unsuccessful abortion be cared for and not be put aside to die with no medical assistance. Obama voted against what was called the Induced Infant Liability Act and twice helped kill it in committee. This bill would have protected miracle babies that somehow survived late-term abortions." Obama supported partial birth abortions for many years and he does not plan to change his position if he becomes president. In the upcoming election he is asking voters to affirm his stand on live birth abortions that a majority of Americans still find repulsive and morally wrong. The 47% support in surveys which Obama is getting in spite of his extreme pro-abortion positions is proof of the numbing of our nation's moral conscience. Lots of Americans have gone to pot morally speaking! Let me restate again the following words which Obama gets away with saying and which give strong evidence that the American empire is in moral decline! "The first thing I'd do as president," Obama told a cheering audience, "is sign the Freedom of Choice Act. That's the first thing that I'd do." What a terrible thing to say that you would do "first thing" as president of the United States. I read on a Catholic blog: "A significant new attack on innocent human life by an Obama administration is likely to send us into a moral free fall that would rival any financial decline. The price for such a “walk over the cliff” is millions more human lives lost for many more years to come." Let's vote our Christian/Catholic consciences on election day and not vote strictly on pocketbook issues. Let's affirm together that all true Christians are opposed to abortions except when an abortion is an unintended result during a necessary operation to save the life of the mother. However, we must add that in history, down through the ages, many mothers gave up their lives to save their new born children.
thomas | 10/23/2008 - 11:24pm
Thank you Bishop Cupich. Your article brought clarity to the issue. Support for infanticide and late term abortion are intrinsic evils that trump all other issues. It is also true that basing one's vote strictly upon the race of a candidate is wrong. The wrong still exists regardless of the race of the voter.
Rev SB | 10/23/2008 - 8:06pm
Bishop Cupich's argument that it is never permissible to vote for a candidate because he or she supports abortion is as incomplete as the "pro-choice" argument itself. Just as "pro-choice-ers" fails to say explicitly what they are in favor of, Bishop Cupich fails to address the importance of the immorality of voting for a candidate in favor of abortion when another alternative exists. He neglects the important moral idea of proportionate reason and by doing so, implicitly opens the door for Catholics to knowingly vote for a candidate that supports almost unlimited abortion. While it may be theoretically possible to do so, can any faithful Catholic say that all the moral policies the pro-abortion candidate supports offsets the continued slaughter of children in the womb? Only by lying to themselves.
unum | 10/23/2008 - 5:48pm
Bishop Cupich's article is consistent with the U.S. Bishops, document "Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship". Those who read the article as an endorsement for a black candidate or an endorsement for a pro-life candidate should reread both the article and the document with care. The Bishops indeed teach that the issues of abortion and racism are "intrinsic evils" that deserve our full attention during elections, and Catholics who ignore them at election time are committing serious sin. I have heard the statements, "I'll never vote for a black man" and "I just disagree with the Bishops' position on abortion" from Catholics who obviously don't understand the risk to their immortal souls. The Bishop makes this clear in his statement, "Voting for a candidate solely because of that candidate’s support for abortion or against him or her solely on the basis of his or her race is to promote an intrinsic evil. ... That is behavior incompatible with being a Christian."
Msgr. Bill Young | 10/23/2008 - 5:42pm
Single issues can be difficult to discuss. Most of the time we shy away from this one or that one issue. I have very, very serious doubts whether the bishop would write the same way if David Duke's way of thinking were present in a candidate. That one issue would be enough to raise a unanimous outrage from our Episcopal leadership. There would be no soft words, no equivocation, no nuances, etc. We all know that is the case. To oppose Mr. Obama simply because he supports unrestricted abortion has nothing to do with racism. Much of what he says is attractive, but, there is the elephant in the voting booth. Innocent human life (about 48 million) in the last 35 years, has been lost to us. Our brothers and sisters have been sacrificed for many reasons (serious and mundane). We have a generation of children who have grown up in a culture that allows (the bottom line) a mother to destroy her own child. To oppose that, has nothing to do with a man's skin. It is to oppose a most profound evil. And we all know that is the truth. Many are just afraid to say so. Does racism exist? Of course it does, from many angles. A vote against Mr. Obama, however, does not equate with racism. To vote for him simply because he is black, is a form of racism. I am old enough to remember that Catholics were cautioned not to vote for Mr. Kennedy simply because he was a Catholic. That same caution would benefit all in making decisions this election. Abortion is not one issue among equals. We all know that. Let us not sacrifice another brother or sister because we don't to be seen in a negative light. Their lives are too valuable for that. We know the truth, we really do. Let us pray for courage to live the truth we know.
Jimbo | 10/23/2008 - 5:08pm
Well, since I was brought up not to judge a person by the color of their skin but rather on the content of their character, I can honestly say that race won't play a part in my casting a ballot for McCain/Palin in November.
muhammad ajaz | 10/23/2008 - 3:04pm
Racism will permeate this election regardless of the results. If we elect Obama, abortion will become a constitutional right. And since 33% of aborted victims are black when that race constitutes only 12% of the population, a vote for Obama relegates 400,000 black children to the dumpsters outside abortion clinics. Pure racism! Another persective on racism is that it is estimated that 98% of black voters will cast their votes for Obama. While I understand the pride in the black community over his candidacy, I think that some whites will interpret it as racism towards the white candidate and respond in kind. Thus, we have the potential of dual racism. Lastly, the polls indicate that Obama will win by quite a margin. Some people thinks that the "Bradley effect", where voters tell pollsters they will vote for Obama but when in the secrecy of a voting booth vote for McCain will give the Republican the victory. Could it be fear of being labelled as a racist that gets people to lie to the polster? Or could it be, for example, a Catholic teacher who is waiting for tenure who doesn't know who the polster is and lies just in case it is the Union or school administrator who is "checling " on the new teachers loyalty? Or, it could be someone who dislikes Obama because he is black. Under any of these conditions, it is racism.
Militia Christi | 10/23/2008 - 2:56pm
I must ask, were any of you Obama supporters really paying attention to what Bishop Cupich wrote. He was not giving you a free pass to vote for Obama. You are so eager to receive affirmation for doing something you know is wrong because you hate his opponant and all that he stands for so much that you totally ignored the part about voting for someone who supports abortion. The Church and this Bishop have been very clear about teaching that abortion is not a single issue, it is a foundational issue, upon which all other rights stand. Abortion and Racism share in common the dehumanization of a whole class of people who are decided as being less human and therefore not deserving of the same rights to life, liberty, and the persuit of happiness. That's what makes both a sin. Also, you can not eliminate poverty by killing people. Being born into poverty is not the worst thing that could happen to someone. Having their lives deemed as not worth living, and being killed because they might be born into poverty is the worst thing that could happen. Money doesn't make someone happy. Living in a society that loves them and doesn't want them killed or silenced does.
Thomas A. Szyszkiewicz | 10/23/2008 - 8:11am
Your Excellency, Your comments are welcome and worthy of consideration as there may be some among us who are racist. However, might I suggest that the reports in the press about racism, in particular the so-called Bradley effect, are greatly exaggerated and purposefully so. It is plain that the mainstream media are in favor of Obama, and not merely in favor but are slanting their coverage of him favorably. Ever since the incident in the diner when he complained about being asked hard questions, the press have backed off. No one has done any real digging into his background as they have to Palin, even though he is as unknown an entity as she is. In my view, all the media reports about supposed racism have a two-fold purpose: 1) To cow people into voting for Obama out of fear that if they don't vote for him, they're guilty of racism, and 2) to have a ready excuse at hand if he doesn't win -- i.e., if he doesn't win, it was because of racism that's still present in our country. That's a bunch of baloney and the MSM know it. I am not voting for Obama, not because of his color, but because of his commitment to the killing of unborn children, especially children of his own race. Why, when blacks only make up 13 percent of the population, do they have 37 percent of the abortions? And why would Obama want that to increase through the passage of FOCA? Indeed, I tend to think that he himself hates his own race if he wants to continue to see the slaughter of so many black innocents not only continue unabated, but to increase by wiping out all laws that limit abortion and by his commitment to federal funding for abortions. Gee, I wonder what racial group will take most advantage of that offer?
DS | 10/23/2008 - 12:17am
Condemning "racism" without defining what exactly you're talking about is like condemning any broad category of evil. Nice, and unexceptionable, I suppose, but you haven't said much of anything.
Marie Rehbein | 10/22/2008 - 11:21am
Some respondants obviously do not know that Bishop Cupich was an outspoken supporter of South Dakota's proposed no exceptions anti-abortion law, which did not pass, and now supports the anti-abortion law that contains exception for the health of the mother, rape, and incest. He says the perfection is the enemy of good. It would be good to have a government under which a woman would find it easy to choose life rather than one under which she might expect a visit from the constable if she has a miscarriage.
Kay | 10/21/2008 - 6:29pm
I am commenting in regards to the comment made by Blase Cupich saying, "The promotion neither of abortion nor racism can ever be a motivation for one’s vote. Voting for a candidate solely because of that candidate’s support for abortion or against him or her solely on the basis of his or her race is to promote an intrinsic evil. To do so consciously is indeed sinful. That is behavior incompatible with being a Christian." Are you kidding Blase? How can a Christ follower vote for someone that is standing so strongly for the selfish acts like abortion? Can God bless infanticide? As far as racism, I have so many people I love that are different color than myself, that is not even a consideration. Please see what is being said on You will see how many people are standing for life in the black community. Kay
Nancy Danielson | 10/21/2008 - 1:07pm
Perhaps Bishop Cupich could clarify his statement regarding the issue of racism in this election. Is Bishop Cupich suggesting that we, who profess to be Catholic, should vote for Sen.Obama because he supports the Freedom of Choice Act that lifts all restrictions on the gruesome act of abortion or because by not voting for Sen.Obama we would then become racist?
Florenz Maxwell | 10/21/2008 - 7:13am
I am a converted Catholic who lived most of my life during segregation of both churches and schools. I was never able to understand church segregation but then slavery has been seasoned with christian quotations approving this crime.I thank God that the Catholic Church universally is speaking out about racism. In many cases, I see "speaking" translated into "acting". God is surely pleased. Obama has brought out issues that were not openly discussed in the past. I thank God that I have lived to see humans trying to be more Christlike. I too am learning.
Todd Phillipe | 10/20/2008 - 11:17am
Thank you Bishop Blase for your clear and encouraging words. It's refreshing to read episcopal advice that's not focused on abortion only, or threatening. You have rightly conveyed, to me at least, a sense of trust in the voting decisions of the electorate. Presidential elections are always a time of uncertainty with a great need for clarity and vision, especially for us Catholics who view elections and voting in a moral context based on church social teaching principles. Bishop Cupich and the other bishops who have written on the 2008 presidential election do so in part from a loving obligation to teach and guide their flocks. We voters, armed with our bishop's words and the guidance contained in Faithful Citizenship, plus inspiration of the Holy Spirit, are individually answerable for our decisions. I don't believe that my priest or my bishop is responsible for my vote, or for anyone's individual decisions or actions, so long as they have made a prayerful effort to teach and we have made a similar effort to form our consciences through prayer, study and reflection on church teaching. I fill out my ballot with a sense of hope and a fierce love of my church and my country, knowing that both fall short of God's expectations. May God bless our clergy, our candidates and our nation.
belinda | 10/20/2008 - 7:52am
My father is a life-long Democrat of 72 years old. When discussing the presidential race when Obama and Clinton were campaigning for the Democratic nomination he had this to say. "I have waited my entire life to vote for a good woman or black man for president. I now find that I can vote for neither of these candidates". He said this with great sadness and regret. The problem with the issues of "life" (abortion, euthenasia, and embryonic stem cell research) as well as an increasingly leftist slant to a party we have always been loyal to have left us (my Dad and myself) scrambling to find our place in the political arena. We can now only call ourselves "Independents". We pray that the Democratic party will become the consistent party it once was and be the protector of all the disenfranchised, especially children! We pray that the party consider the ramifications to society at large by redefining "marriage".
Marie Rehbein | 10/19/2008 - 11:09pm
Racist laws are nothing like laws permitting abortion. A woman misusing her freedom to choose to do something her Church teaches is evil is not the same as a government mandating that she choose evil. Women are responsible for the choices they make. So long as there are Catholic women having abortions, their priests and their bishops, not their elected representatives, are to blame. They should publicly excommunicate themselves.
Leo James | 10/19/2008 - 10:29am
We found Bishop Cupich's behavior to be incompatible with being a Christian when he was our Pastor in Omaha. Shortly after he was named Pastor of our parish, he publicaly reprimanded our daughter for genuflecting prior to receiving the Holy Eucharist. She had just returned home from a Catholic college and was attending Sunday Mass with us. She made a simple genuflection while in line and before he gave her Communion he said in a loud voice, "that kind of behavior is not acceptable in my Church; if you do that again I won't administer Communion to you". We left the parish but have prayed for him since.
Leonard | 10/19/2008 - 7:20am
Count Goubineau was a devout Catholic who was never criticized by the Church, to my knowledge. His writings were never put on the Index. I was attending Catholic school here in Florida when the New Orleans commotion was going on. The de-segregation of New Orleans parochial schools was done in the context of a Supreme Court case that achieved the same result nationally. It would have been futile for the archbishop to buck a trend that was already in place in the public school system. When looking at past events like these, it would be wise to take into account the context of the times. Segregation was already starting to break down, at certain levels, in the South already. It was often hypocritical Northern politicians who acted out of malice and who themsleves sent their own children to segregated (by economics) private schools.
David Roesch | 10/18/2008 - 8:18pm
I am proud of a rector of a seminary I attended before he got there. The racism applies to the African race and the false statments that the candidate is a muslim, I do not believe in abortion, but I do not think pro-choice equals pro-abortion. It may mean no more self and botched abortions that I remember as a former hospital chapain back in the late 60's. If we can not provide for health care and food and necessary for children after they are born, many of us will vote for a person who try to provide for these pro-life choices.
Rev. Stephen M. Koeth, CSC | 10/18/2008 - 3:10pm
Bishop Cupich is right to remind us of Archbishop Joseph Rummel, the courageous Archbishop of New Orleans who publicly excommunicated three lay Catholics, including a politician, for supporting the intrinsic evil of racism. Rummel is certainly a bishop to be proud of in our Church's history in this country. Ever since I studied Archbishop Rummel as a history major at Notre Dame, I have been wondering when we will have brave bishops in this era who are willing to publicly excommunicate Catholic politicians who support the intrinsic evil of abortion. Since Bishop Cupich appealed to that history, I am sure he would be willing to follow Archbishop Rummel's courageous legacy.
Sherwood Burress | 10/18/2008 - 2:50pm
A friend in Texas sent this: How about this? Obama/Biden vs McCain/Palin ; what if things were switched around?.....think about it. Would the country's collective point of view be different? Could racism be the culprit?**** Ponder the following: What if the Obamas had paraded five children across the stage, including a three-month old infant and an unwed, pregnant teenage daughter? What if John McCain was a former president of the Harvard Law Review? What if Barack Obama finished fifth from the bottom of his graduating class? What if McCain had only married once, and Obama was a divorcee? What if Obama was the candidate who left his first wife after a severe disfiguring car accident, when she no longer measured up to his standards? What if Obama had met his second wife in a bar and had a long affair while he was still married? What if Michelle Obama was the wife who not only became addicted to pain killers, but also acquired them illegally through her charitable organization? What if Cindy McCain graduated from Harvard? What if Obama had been a member of the Keating Five? (The Keating Five were five United States Senators accused of corruption in 1989, igniting a major political scandal as part of the larger Savings and Loan crisis of the late 1980s and early 1990s.) What if McCain was a charismatic, eloquent speaker? What if Obama couldn't read from a teleprompter? What if Obama was the one who had military experience that included discipline problems and a record of crashing seven planes? What if Obama was the one who was known to display publicly, on many occasions, a serious anger management problem? What if Michelle Obama's family had made their money from beer distribution? What if the Obamas had adopted a white child? You could easily add to this list. If these questions reflected reality, do you really believe the election numbers would be as close as they are? This is what racism does. It covers up, rationalizes and minimizes positive qualities in one candidate and emphasizes negative qualities in another when there is a color difference. Educational Background: Barack Obama: Columbia University - B.A. Political Science with a Specialization in International Relations. Harvard - Juris Doctor (J.D.) Magna Cum Laude Joseph Biden: University of Delaware - B.A. in History and B.A. in Political Science. Syracuse University College of Law - Juris Doctor (J.D.) vs. John McCain: United States Naval Academy - Class rank: 894 of 899 Sarah Palin: Hawaii Pacific University - 1 semester North Idaho College - 2 semesters - general study University of Idaho - 2 semesters - journalism Matanuska-Susitna College - 1 semester University of Idaho - 3 semesters - B.A. in Journalism Education isn't everything, but this is about the two highest offices in the land as well as our standing in the world. You make the call! ****N.B. Racism in the form of attitudes is not a crime. Racism is not a sin...unless someone makes the wild and crazy assertion that Jesus' statment 'if you have done it unto the least of these you have done it unto me!' Such an assertion would be crazy and it is not Biblical. The Bible has nothing at all against racism. So, many people can say to themselves "so what?" Dear readers, please forgive my attempt at irony! Thank you Bishop Cupich!
John Michael | 10/18/2008 - 12:51pm
Dear Bishop Cupich: Thank you for writing on a topic that is on the minds of many Americans. Racism is alive and undercover in the USA and at times in our Church. You honesty on this topic will stimulate much discussion as we approach November 4th. Thank you for being a TEACHER to the people of your diocese and to those of us who are not lucky enough to have you as our Bishop. Please keep writing as the Spirit moves you.
MICHAEL MILLER | 10/18/2008 - 11:48am
Thanks for this wonderful article. I was born in Texas in 1945 and grew up there in the 40's and 50's. I can still remember separate water fountains, separate rest rooms, separate motels, separate places in church (Catholic churches), separate schools (Catholic schools), etc. I did not go to school with an African-American till I was 18 years old and went to the University of San Francisco (Jesuit). I never thought I would live long enough to see an African-American be a serious contender for the Presidency. I am grateful. Racism is still a pervasive social sin in the United States.
sarsfield | 10/18/2008 - 9:58am
What about voting for a candidate who has publicly pledged to remove any and all of the existing meager restrictions on a "medical procedure" that can be empirically shown to cause the deaths of a disproportionate number of African American children, a procedure widely promoted by an organization whose founder (Sanger) was an avowed white supremacist, anti-Semite, and some of whose current employees have been heard recently accepting donations earmarked for "abortions of black babies?" Racism? Sinful? Obama may be both Planned Parenthood's and "America's" candidate -- witness this issue's two subtle "now don't you worry your little consciences about voting for Obama" articles, one by a Bishop no less! -- but please do us the favor of dropping the pretense of "objectivity." Just put him on your cover, halo and all.
Reggie | 10/17/2008 - 11:43pm
Thank you Bishop Blase for a great article. Race is and always will be an issue here in America, Yet we want to sweep away the obvious. As far as Obama is concerned, he has always refered to himself as an African American with a white heritage that he is proud of. However, in the end, he is just as African American as I am, and I am totally American and Black.
Christine Galvin | 10/17/2008 - 10:09pm
Can someone who practices racism be excommunicated? Has it ever happened?
Leonard Villa | 10/17/2008 - 8:36pm
Indeed racism is a sin practiced by any race. In today's media culture and even at times in the Church you get the impression that racism is only a "white problem" and hence a double standard exists. I think the essay should also have emphasized that recklessly charging another of racism for any kind of gain is a also a sin against the 8th Commandment.
Leonard | 10/17/2008 - 7:55pm
Depends on how you define "racism." On this, the less said the better.
Dr. A.J. CARLOS | 10/17/2008 - 7:49pm
Bravo, Your Excellency! I do not mean any disrespect, but it was about time someone said this! The article should be read soon in all parishes. For those of us who have not always been happy with the church's political positions and its sometimes neanderthal tendencies (think of the three, four or five really enlightened theologians who have been unjustly censored and/or silenced), It is simply fantastic to read this article . If it were not for declarations such as this one and reading intelligent spiritual thinkers such as Karl Rahner, some of us would be long gone. But on the other hand we cradle Catholics belong in the Church; Vatican II affirmed the laity should not be ignored since without us there is no church. Have we forgotten Vatican II? Why must political positions come only from above (via bishops); shouldn't the laity also be involved? And furthermore how does one consider abortion and leave out torture and mass murderers? Shouldn't it be sinful to vote for a mass murderer as some, if not the majority of Catholics did four years ago? Where were the thoughtful political reflections and considerations from sincere, well-meaning bishops at that time? And wasn't that omission sinful, also?
philip herringer | 10/17/2008 - 6:31pm
Please get off the bandwaggon of Obama being an Afro american, a term reserved for Americans of mixed negro racial origin. He is a half white and half African.

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