How the church can recognize the legacy of slavery and move toward reconciliation

Rep. Frederica Wilson, D-Fla., Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas and Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., at a ceremony to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the first recorded arrival of enslaved African people in America, on Sept. 10 on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)Rep. Frederica Wilson, D-Fla., Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas and Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., at a ceremony to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the first recorded arrival of enslaved African people in America, on Sept. 10 on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Over the past 20 years, Catholic institutions and leaders have made real efforts toward racial reconciliation. Examples include the U.S. bishops’ anti-racism pastoral letter “Open Wide Our Hearts” in 2018; the formation of the Ad Hoc Committee Against Racism in 2017; individual statements from church leaders, including Bishop Edward K. Braxton’s 2016 pastoral letter on the Black Lives Matter movement; religious men and women acknowledging their history with slavery, including the Jesuits in 2016 and three orders of nuns in Kentucky in 2000; and the U.S. bishops’ 2001 collection of essays Love Thy Neighbor As Thyself.

“Open Wide Our Hearts” acknowledges the need for U.S. Catholics to fully reckon with the sin of slavery: “The generational effects of slavery, segregation, and the systemic use of violence—including the lynching of more than 4,000 black men, women, and children across 800 different counties throughout the United States between 1877 and 1950—are realities that must be fully recognized and addressed in any process that hopes to combat racism.” The pastoral letter was accompanied by resources to educate Catholics about racism and its effects on education, employment, housing and migration; guides for clergy to lead discussions on race; and educational material for students at all levels.

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These efforts are helpful, but the church can do more. And this summer, The New York Times provided a template worth considering.

The U.S. church can create an accurate timeline of its history and relationship with slavery—rather than waiting for the secular media to do it.

The 1619 Project was published to commemorate the 400th anniversary of what many historians believe was the first transport of African slaves to the European colonies that would become the United States. That summer, two English privateer ships attacked Portuguese vessels and captured 20 to 30 enslaved Africans. In August of that year, the White Lion arrived in present-day Virginia, and its crew sold several Africans to the colonists as indentured servants. Eventually, more than 12 million Africans were forcibly transported during the trans-Atlantic slave trade, including about 380,000 who were taken directly to North America. By 1860, the slave population in the United States had grown to four million.

The extensive work by Nikole Hannah-Jones, who spearheaded the project, and other writers, historians, sociologists and photographers traces this history. They argue that no part of American life is untouched by the legacy of slavery, from our prison system to our daily traffic jams (the result, in part, of segregationist housing patterns). In an interview about the project, Ms. Hannah-Jones said that it is for “Americans who are not black, so that they could understand this history and ongoing legacy and really reckon with our true identity as a country and who we really are. I wanted to reframe the way that we see this history and the way that we see ourselves.”

The 1619 Project was published to commemorate the 400th anniversary of what many historians believe was the first transport of African slaves to the European colonies that would become the United States.

Black worshipers have always been part of the Catholic Church in the United States and yet, as Tia Noelle Pratt recently wrote in America, there is often “incredulousness that surrounds the very idea that black people are Catholic.” Rather than serve as a safe space for black Catholics, Ms. Pratt writes that the church has become “a place where [racial] segregation is heightened and perpetuated.” She argues, however, that there is still time for the church to show black Catholics—and all black Americans—that it is committed to racial justice.

One way to do this would be by using the 1619 Project as a teaching moment and as a model for the church’s own efforts toward reconciliation. Here are two ways that can happen.

First, the U.S. church can create an accurate timeline of its history and relationship with slavery. While the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops provides great resources, as mentioned above, there is a need to clarify which Catholic institutions had connections to slavery; which bishops or other members of the clergy used enslaved persons as free labor; which Vatican documents were used to condemn or support slavery; and what the official church teaching was on slavery.

In my own research, I have come across history I was unfamiliar with, including the 1452 papal bull by Pope Nicholas V, “Dum Diversas,” that granted Afonso V, the king of Portugal, “full and free power, through the Apostolic authority by this edict, to invade, conquer, fight, subjugate the Saracens and pagans, and other infidels and other enemies of Christ,” language that was used by Catholics at that time to justify the institution of slavery. I also found “In supremo apostolatus,” a decree by Pope Gregory XVI in 1839 condemning slavery. Creating and making publicly available an accurate timeline that acknowledges such history would be beneficial to Catholics and better than waiting for the secular media to do it.

Second, the church can conduct a nationwide study asking Catholics how well they understand slavery and whether they believe its effects are still being felt today. An example of what such a study would look like was conducted by The Washington Post in July. The poll surveyed 1,025 U.S. adults and found that 67 percent agree that the legacy of slavery still affects U.S. society today a “great deal” or “fair amount.” The study found that younger Americans were more likely to agree, but it did not include data on religious affiliation. The church could conduct a similar study among U.S. Catholics.

Making this kind of research readily available for Catholics would be a concrete way for church leaders to follow up on the call to action they issued in “Open Wide Our Hearts.” By engaging in historical study like this, the church and its leaders can continue to show their commitment to eradicating racism in the United States and, as Ms. Hannah-Jones said, help to “reframe the way that we see this history and the way that we see ourselves.”

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JR Cosgrove
4 months 3 weeks ago

HOUSING DISCRIMINATION AGAINST RACIAL AND ETHNIC MINORITIES 2012 Executive Summary

Definitely discrimination against some blacks and to a lesser extent against some Hispanics and Asians still exists but down substantially over the years.

Judith Jordan
4 months 3 weeks ago

J Cosgrove---
It is breath taking how you are so dismissive of serious studies. Your statement that housing discrimination is down from over the years is meaningless. Over what years? Are you talking about when discrimination in housing was legal?

The study shows that some blatant forms of discrimination like refusing to even meet with a minority is down, but other forms persist. The discrimination is substantial and it restricts housing options for minorities.

JR Cosgrove
4 months 3 weeks ago

Deadly Force, in Black and White

The evidence is overwhelming that there is not police lethal force against blacks compared to whites. What people are comparing is the reaction of police to a criminal act, which are more likely to occur in black population areas. There are actual studies showing police less likely to shoot a black than a white in similar situations. One might ask why do blacks commit such a high rate of violent crime when that was not the true years ago. What changed to make that happen?

Judith Jordan
4 months 3 weeks ago

J Cosgrove--
What are your sources for such a claim? To my knowledge no credible study makes such a claim. What is your "overwhelming evidence?"

Are you not aware of all the black men who have been killed by law enforcement and they had no weapon; or were giving the law no problem; or were merely asking a question? Tell me, do you watch Fox News?

Judith Jordan
4 months 3 weeks ago

a

JR Cosgrove
4 months 3 weeks ago

https://www.pewtrusts.org/~/media/legacy/uploadedfiles/wwwpewtrustsorg/reports/sentencing_and_corrections/onein100pdf.pdf

Link in article is missing a character. Not sure what this shows other than what is already known. A much higher percentage of black are in prison. No one denies that. The question is why?

Judith Jordan
5 months ago

J Jones--

Thank you for the information.

I listened to Dennis Prager years ago when his show on Sunday nights was about religion. He always had a priest, a rabbi, and a minister as guests. I enjoyed it. Then he got into politics with a daily show. Again, at first, I enjoyed it. I like to read and listen to people whose views are different than mine. Else, how do we learn? However, Dennis started moving more and more to the right until he became too difficult to listen to---and I was not learning anything from him. I do recall all his “proofs” about why there is no racism here. Many people are taken in by him because he is so articulate and appears to know everything about anything. If you listen to him closely you can hear when he is doing a shell game. He is terribly arrogant and that often gets in his way.

This has become my favorite thing that he does. He has been married three times through divorces. Every Friday he has a segment on relationships and advises people on how to maintain a good relationship with their spouses. Sorry, but I find that so amusing.

He also says that gay people being allowed to marry is a threat to traditional marriage. I don’t understand that. I have been married once and divorced once. He has been married three times and divorced twice. It seems to me that, if there is any threat to traditional marriage, it would be Dennis and me.

J Jones
5 months ago

Prager's primary funders - the Wilks Brothers - are right there with him (pun intended.)

https://prospect.org/power/meet-billionaire-brothers-never-heard-fund-religious-right/

https://www.texasobserver.org/meet-farris-wilks-kingmaker-of-the-texas-gop/

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-election-wilks-specialreport-idUSKCN0RB0ZF20150911

JR Cosgrove
5 months ago

Interesting. No one has disputed anything I said. The reaction is to denigrate the sources of my information. I can cite chapter and verse on the horrors of slavery in the United States and how the South tried to continue the practice even after it was made illegal.

You cannot solve a problem if one does not address the underlying causes. For this I get called a bigot and racist when I am suggesting how to address a very serious problem.

J Jones
5 months ago

JCosgrove, you have distracted from the focus of the article. You consistently refuse to acknowledge or address privilege which is ALWAYS the companion sin of racism. You have an agenda which prevents you from engaging without negating African American writers who do not support your Prager-and-Wilks-Brothers-curated worldview that racism is a minor issue.

You consistently indicate that it is an injustice when your contributions are dismissed, rejected, demeaned.

Perhaps you could let that be a lesson in how NOT to respond to Black writers and commenters.

JR Cosgrove
5 months ago

You realize you just made a very racist statement. Implying that Blacks cannot handle criticism. Maybe a sexist comment too since the author is a woman. I thank you for acknowledging your way of thinking and attitudes towards others.

J Jones
5 months ago

JCosgrove, my goodness.

Judith Jordan
5 months ago

J Cosgrove---

To question or dismiss a source of information is to dispute it.

Stuart Meisenzahl
5 months ago

Has it occurred to the author that
“younger Americans are more likely to agree.....that the legacy of slavery still effects US Society [either ] a great or a fair amount”
because that is what they have been taught in school?
This reflects more on the increasing failure to teach balanced broad swaths of US history. The current textbook trend is to teach carefully selected topics on what America has done wrong since its founding without any balance in either the facts or the positive accomplishments. Indeed the tracts on slavery and its conditions pass lightly over the tens of thousands of active abolitionist and the 320,000 Union Deaths which were brought to bear to destroy slavery.
The goal needs to be to present a balanced picture and the NYTimes Series promises to be anything but balanced and contextualized. The fact that the world now views any form of servitude as incomprehensibly discriminatory cannot simply ignore that in prior generations over a thousand years multiple cultures in multiple areas held entirely different views and understandings of the “morality” of slavery and other forms of servitude. The “yardstick measuring morality” in these matters has been demonstrably different over the last 3,000 years of history. This current educational trend to strip facts and circumstances from their historical context distorts and ill serves our public discussions of every topic. It is gross over simplification that polarizes every conversation.
Let me suggest that if science were to prove that a fetus has feelings and responsive nerve endings at a much earlier age than we now know, then current advocates of abortion will quickly and accurately state “We did not know”............BUT 30 years thereafter given the current trends in uncontextual education such people would be summarily branded as advocates of infanticide or as torturers. It won’t be fair and it won’t be honest but it will be simple and easily understood by those too lazy to be educated.

Judith Jordan
5 months ago

Stuart Meisenzahl---

Your statement that young people are not being taught balanced, broad swaths of US history is interesting because that is exactly what is happening in many states…only in the opposite direction. The Texas Board of Education came under intense criticism with its selection of new history text books. The text books present slavery as a side issue in the Civil War and they barely address segregation in the Jim Crow-era South. This has been a view the South has always pushed as they try to diminish the horror of slavery by cloaking it in “states’ rights.” There were several causes of the Civil War, but, slavery was the main cause. We know this because in every Confederate state, the secession documents clearly stated that slavery was the central motivation for seceding.

It is said the victors of a war are the ones that write the history of it. This is generally true, but an exception to that is the Civil War. When the war ended, the North returned to build a strong industrial nation. The South returned home and justified its actions by writing about the war. Thus, we have had generations of Americans who believe the war was fought for the “noble cause” of states’ rights; Robert E. Lee was a deity who could commit no wrong; and, the South was “romantic, brave, and tragic.” Many historians claim that, “while the South lost the war, they won the history.”

One may wonder why it matters what Texas does. Texas and California are the largest purchasers of text books. Publishers do not edit the books for each state. Instead, what Texas or CA select is what goes out as text books for the entire country.

J Jones
5 months ago

Judith, thanks for sharing this about textbooks. I knew but had forgotten it.

Stuart Meisenzahl
5 months ago

Judith
I suggest you pick up some of the current American history textbooks.....they no longer teach about events, persons and documents. They teach themes and conclusory points of view.

There is little sense in our debating the causes of the Civil War. But on that point it is sufficient to note that the Republican Party Platform in 1860 with Lincoln as its nominee opposed only the expansion of slavery into new territories and states, promising not to disturb that practice in existing slave permitting states. The Southern States viewed such “limitation” as a threat to create a voting block of non slavery states and a first step to eventually outlaw slavery.
Your suggestion that “States Rights” was not a major issue simply ignores that The Constitution only was ratified by the then southern states because of the compromise permitting slavery where it existed and leaving that decision to each of the respective states. The tension over that compromise did not diminish over the next 60 years.
You mention that Texas and California are the major purchasers in the text book business....yet you never mention what effect California’s educators have on such content....being satisfied it seems with tarring Texas. I think it’s reasonable to conclude that California’s approach to the issues you describe is extraordinarily liberal in its approach. Yet youquieltly pass over that point
Unmentioned is that while textbook content is very important, the thoughts and attitudes of the teachers using those texts is even more important and probably determinative. That teachers as a group are lopsidedly liberal to very liberal seems to be a point generally conceded even by the various teachers unions.

Judith Jordan
5 months ago

Stuart Meisenzahl---
You misunderstand what I am saying. I am not claiming that states’ rights was not a big issue. It was a significant issue and it would be foolish to claim otherwise. My position is the South tried to pretend that slavery was a side issue and that states’ rights was the central cause of the war. However, as I stated before, slavery was the main cause of the Civil War. We know this because in every Confederate state, the secession documents passed by the state legislatures, clearly state that slavery was the central motivation for seceding. These are original sources. To repudiate that slavery was the main cause, one has to repudiate what the Confederate states claimed when they seceded.

We can also review the position of Alexander Stephens who claimed, “Slavery was without doubt the occasion of secession; out of it rose the breach of compact, for instance, on the part of several Northern States in refusing to comply with Constitutional obligations as to rendition of fugitives from service, a course betraying total disregard for all constitutional barriers and guarantees.” Alexander Stephens, Vice-President of the Confederacy, Diary Entry, 1865.

The reason I did not mention CA is because the year that Texas ordered new history texts, CA did not. Plus, it was Texas that came under intense criticism for its books. One of the things the Texas texts did was to refer to slaves as “workers.” The statement was, "The Atlantic Slave Trade between the 1500s and 1800s brought millions of workers from Africa to the southern United States to work on agricultural plantations." It appeared on a page titled "Patterns of Immigration." After another outcry, the text book company apologized and changed it. Surely, you would agree that Texas’ efforts were absurd.

You state that teachers as a group are lopsidedly liberal. This has been the mantra of conservatives for decades. They create visions of wild, radical teachers running amuck throughout our schools. There are many liberal professors at the university level. We should ask ourselves why that is, but that is a discussion for another time. However, within the local school districts of high schools and grade schools, teachers are a reflection of their communities. They are liberal, or moderate, or conservative. I am a retired teacher in CA. Now you will assume all sorts of wild things about me. I taught English, History, and American Government in high school. I recall the English Department tended to have liberal teachers, no extremists. The History Department was dominated by conservatives, no extremists, who voted Republican.

Stuart Meisenzahl
5 months ago

Judith
Lincoln and the republicans in 1860 did not run on the basis they would eliminate Slavery......the Southern States did not believe that....no one disputes what the articles of succession said. But listen to your own comment: you say first that the South said slavery was a side issue....yet you then cite the succession articles to point out the South considered it the main issue.

As to your comment on whether teachers as a group were/ are mostly liberal I refer you to the platforms, goals, and candidates supported by any teachers union in the United States.

Judith Jordan
4 months 4 weeks ago

Stuart---

Stuart, please read what I wrote and not what you think I wrote.

I agree with your comment about Lincoln, but I never discussed him. My issue was about the South.

I did not contradict myself about the South. I said, “My position is the South TRIED TO PRETEND that slavery was a side issue and that states’ rights was the central cause of the war.” This is what the South wanted the world to believe.

Then I said, “However, as I stated before, slavery was the main cause of the Civil War. We KNOW THIS because in every Confederate state, the secession documents passed by the state legislatures, clearly state that SLAVERY WAS THE CENTRAL MOTIVATION FOR SECEDING. These are original sources.” This shows what the South’s true motivation was for seceding---slavery.

You said, …”no one disputes what the articles of succession said.” My issue is not if people dispute the seceding documents. My issue is the deceit of the South. There is nothing glorious about fighting to defend slavery; it sounds much better to propagandize that one fought for states’ rights.

Most of the early books on the Civil War were written by Southerners with a definite Southern point of view. There has been much more scholarly research on the war in the last years and the discovery of many more documents. Much of the research has been done by those who do not feel a loyalty to the South or the North and they are able to be more impartial. One of the many issues to come out of the research is an effort to clarify why the South really seceded which the documents demonstrate was slavery.

As for the teachers, I stand by my position.

Tim O'Leary
5 months ago

Some facts that might influence thinking about slavery in the Western world:
1. As the article correctly estimates, only 3.2% of the 12 million trans-atlantic slaves went to the US and Canada, and only 5% of these countries were Catholic. So, it would seems that any Catholic consideration of the slave trade should include Catholic Latin and Central Americans, who received 96%. I wonder if any Hispanic bishops have ever addressed their outsized historical involvement in slavery?

2. This was over 300 years, and the same time 14.5 Million Africans were enslaved by the Muslim Ottoman Empire, and there were countless slaves in Asia. So, maybe a more ecumenical approach (with Muslims, Hindu etc.) is wiser.

3. Furthermore, the Europeans rarely captured Africans themselves. Slavery was endemic in Africa and the African tribes who captured the peoples and sold them to the slave traders could also be involved in any historical considerations.

4. The author mentions Dum Diversas, which was written in 1452 (before Columbus) to address the attack on Constantinople by the Muslims, and had nothing to do with the Americas or racial slavery, only a defensive measure. The servitude of war was the norm then, as a more merciful alternative to mass killing, akin to replacing the death penalty with forced labor for life. It failed to raise the army and the victorious Ottomans ruled from 1453-1918, and had many more slaves than all of America combined.

In the US itself, the slaves were freed by the Republican Unionists in the Civil War. So, I would say anyone who has an ancestor who died in that war have already given more than they could ever owe, even though I agree with Biden that no one alive today should be responsible for events that happened before they or their ancestors got here.

Terry Kane
5 months ago

Thank you, Tim. You and Stuart (above) are exactly right.
Too often those who only react to things with emotion do not grasp the entirety of the matter.
Being a pious and religious Catholic does not involve self-flagellation, however, some have to signal their virtue to show how good a person he is.
Blaming us Catholic Americans for something that happened hundreds of years ago by others is not a meaningful way to atone for anything. Isn't there something in scripture about the sins of the father?

Sunny Solomon
5 months ago

Mr. O'Leary, Lincoln's emancipation proclamation may have freed the slaves from slavery, but it did not free them from racism. The 1619 project is not asking white Americans to beat themselves up over our history of slavery. It is, however, asking white Americans to take a deep breath and try to understand what the descendants of those slaves had to, and in many cases continue to have to, deal with after the proclamation of emancipation. We as moral white Americans must understand our post-Civil War history. We need to try to wrap our minds around a Jim Crow America. A place to start would be Wilkerson's "The Warmth of Other Suns" and coming out in January 2020, Candacy Taylor's "Overground Railroad." It is time we open our eyes, our minds, and our hearts to all of our American history. Today we are not dealing with the evil of slavery, but make no mistake, we are dealing with the continued effects of racism. The truth may be very uncomfortable, but it will set us free to honestly address the issues that diminish our beloved country.

Tim O'Leary
5 months ago

No doubt there is some racism today, but I think it is especially obvious in those who persist in classifying people and even judging them by the color of their skin. For example, it is racist to judge someone or some group based on their skin color (like "white" Americans), especially pejoratively. It is even worse to impute sins or obligations of people long dead on people alive today solely on the fact that they share the same skin color or ethnic group. For example, why in the world would a new immigrant just arriving in America from Europe be more obligated than an African American who's family has lived here for centuries. Is the only connection that matters that one is one skin color and the other has a different color? That is the very essence of racism. MLK Jr. would turn in his grave on such an idea. He wanted people judged on the content of their character and never on the color of their skin.

J Jones
5 months ago

Tim and Terry, privilege SHOULD be painful and uncomfortable to people of conscience and, especially, to Christians.

Where there have been oppressions, there have been oppressors. Where there have been marginalized communities, there have been dominant communities. Where there have been people denied humanity, dignity, citizenship, the right to work, the right to live where they choose, the right to equal representation in the courts and equal consequences, the right to political
representation, the right to equal education, the right to equal protection by law enforcement, the right to freedom movement, on and on and on.

Whenever and wherever those systemic and institutional denials occur, those resources, freedoms and rights have become PRIVILEGES granted to dominant community.

The oppressive, the dominant, the denying, the privileged in the United States have been white.

That is historical and current reality.

That is not a judgment. That is not racism. That is not unkindness. That is not unfair.

That is painful.

Privilege SHOULD be painful to people of conscience. Privilegeshould be uncomfortable especially to Christians.

Terry Kane
5 months ago

J Jones
You seem to be saying that certain people should be subjected to pain and made uncomfortable because of the color of their skin. You believe this is true "especially to Christians"?
If that is not racism, what is???
A generation should be punished for the actions of a prior generation is something Christians were warned against long ago, but present-day racists still hold dear.
Sad

J Jones
4 months 4 weeks ago

Terry, today's racial disparities in infant and maternal mortality rates are manifestations of systemic and institutionalized racism and its companion, white privilege. (https://minorityhealth.hhs.gov/omh/browse.aspx?lvl=4&lvlid=23; https://www.cdc.gov/reproductivehealth/maternalinfanthealth/pregnancy-mortality-surveillance-system.htm).

And, yes, I believe white privilege - simultaneous cause and result of American racism - should always be painful and uncomfortable for Christians. Pain and discomfort are great catalysts for new choices.

Terry Kane
4 months 4 weeks ago

The links you provide do not attribute any disparities to ,"systemic and institutionalized racism and its companion, white privilege."

There have been many excuses for racism in the past; you seem to be using another excuse for your prejudice towards Caucasian Christians today.
Sad

Stuart Meisenzahl
4 months 4 weeks ago

J Jones
Your all caps use of the word “PRIVILEGE “ has become a meaningless meme meant to close off all discussion with those who are summarily accused by you of “exercising privilege “ because they disagree or hold a different view point from you. But you now carry it a step further and add to the equation that such accusation now means that one is not Christian!
Congrats on your new position that disagreement with you means one is not Christian!

J Jones
4 months 4 weeks ago

Duplicate

J Jones
4 months 4 weeks ago

Stuart, it sounds good, and it is nonsense. Moving on. I don't "exercise privilege" as a white American. Rather, I carry privilege with me wherever I go because I cannot go anywhere without my skin. As a Christian, yes, I believe the elimination of my privilege should be my goal. The only way to eliminate my privilege is to eliminate racist systems and institutions and attitudes through which I am granted by virtue of my whiteness dignities, resources, freedoms and rights others are denied for lacking the virtue of my whiteness.

I put privilege in "all caps" as a means of calling attention to that inextricable reality, a reality which gets lost when when white Americans insist they are being "blamed for something that happened 200 years ago". The US institution of slavery and the system of white privilege were two sides of the same coin and, while white privilege - cause and result of slavery - continues, the cause of Black slavery and the legacy of slavery continue.

Stuart Meisenzahl
4 months 4 weeks ago

J Jones
As usual you simplistically treat this as a “black and white issue” .....that having been said your self serving conclusions are then declared by you as “fact” . Any one who denies your “fact conclusion” of White Privilege can then just be branded as a racist bigot. You may feel personally burdened by your “White Privilege”, but that does not entitle you declare that others are or must be so burdened.

Do you as a Christian believe that as respects Jews that you have “Christian PRIVILEGE “.....or as a citizen of the United States that you have” American Privilege”....and as a consequence you must work “ by virtue of those PRIVILEGES “ to eliminate your access to resources like the right to citizenship or to attend your parish church until the non privileged can have the same access?

This meme Privilege is just a convenient tool intended to cow others into submission at the risk being called a racist bigot.
Let me suggest to you that what I as a Christian owe to any who are in need is not compelled by or directed to the color of those in need. As I recollect Christ did not in the Beatitudes reference the color or other physical or historic aspects of those we were directed to help, assist, comfort,visit , clothe or feed.

J Jones
4 months 4 weeks ago

I acknowledge you are outraged that I have stated reality: racism in the United States has and does confer privileges upon white Americans. I acknowledge your outrage that I believe white privilege and its companion, racism, are inconsistent with Christianity.

Stuart Meisenzahl
4 months 4 weeks ago

J Jones
First I am not outraged...
Second your repetition of your argument about Privilege fails to address that what you see as your personal burden of “White Privilege” does not mean that such burden exists for any other person.. Your personal burden is simply just that ...YOUR BURDEN.

J Jones
4 months 4 weeks ago

I hear you, Stuart. You do not like that I have stated reality: American racism and white privilege are two sides of one coin. I hear you: you don't like that I have said that neither is compatible with Christianity.

Stuart Meisenzahl
4 months 4 weeks ago

J Jones
Once again you resort to “your own personal truth” and declare it reality.

J Jones
4 months 4 weeks ago

I hear you. You don't like the reality that racism and white privilege are two sides of the same coin and you don't like the reality that neither is consistent with Christianity.

J Jones
5 months ago

Beautifully stated, Sunny.

Judith Jordan
5 months ago

Sunny Solomon--

Excellent comments.

JR Cosgrove
5 months ago

Thanks Tim for the interesting facts. Another interesting fact is that more Europeans were taken slave by the Africans mentioned in Dum Diversas doctrine than were brought to the United States. . These Africans were not black Africans but similar in ethnicity to many in Spain and Portugal.

J Jones
5 months ago

Anything to divert attention, proving the point made by this author, the 1619 Project and Dr Tia Pratt. Please keep at it.

Tim O'Leary
5 months ago

JJ - Happy to keep at it. Here is the link to the Englishtext of Dum Diversas https://unamsanctamcatholicam.blogspot.com/2011/02/dum-diversas-english-translation.html. While I don't think reparations are justified, I think they could be OK if they were voluntary. Coerced reparations is just an injustice on one party to assuage the guilt of another party. It is horrifying that the Democrats lynched over 4,000 African- Americans in the US. The Democratic Party could voluntarily offer some reparations to the descendants of slaves for the sins of ancestor Democrats. Since Latin America has the record described above, maybe immigrants coming across the Mexican border should be asked to contribute before they are considered for entry. Or, maybe this is all a total political effort to perpetuate racial animosity.

JR Cosgrove
5 months ago

Nothing what this author, Tia Pratt or the 1619 project recommends will have any effect on the problems of the Black community. Their problems flow from white liberal policies which completely destroyed the black culture and led to dysfunctional communities. So the real diversion is articles like this which fail to address the underlying issues. The 1619 project actually represents a very cynical racism which denies the real problems.

Tim O'Leary
5 months ago

You are right. The breakdown of the family unit by welfare policies has created a terrible legacy. The author mentions 4,000 lynchings. But, that pales in comparison to the murders relating in the Democrat-run cities of America. Just in Chicago, more than 4,000 African-Americans have been murdered in the past decade, and guess which ethnic group might have done most of the killing? But that can hardly have played a role. People should only be judged as individuals, never as groups or based on genetic or ethnic traits.

Michael Bindner
5 months ago

All the poor have been exploited, but none for as long. The best reparation is to stop offending. Disarm police, end war on black drug users and whites too, raise minimum wage to $20 wage or education stipend and give every child with family income over $500K a $1000/month child tax credit (refundable, indexed, with pay). Build employe ownership.

Stuart Meisenzahl
5 months ago

Ah yes Michael ...once again a call to “the great cooperative” where drugs are practically free, police have no need to arm,everyone is given some money and employees end up owning it all. It might even deserve a trial so let’s do it first on a small manageable scale, say in Chicago!!!

Todd Witherell
5 months ago

Not only are you a cynic, you are a racist cynic. Chicago will long outlast your racism and your cynicism. Despite its very real problems, it is - unlike you - great!

John Mack
5 months ago

Of all the first generation Irish-Americvan I grew up with over half have left the church, sometimes following their children. they do not miss the church even though most had a positive experience. They are aware of the legacy of slavery (we were taught a lot about it in Catholic school back in the 50'). Of thsoe who half stayed Cathloic church goers about half are unapologetic racists.

James Schwarzwalder
5 months ago

The article and most comments are looking back. How we got where we are is important. However, looking forward should involve more than "reconciliation" and defining for whom and how "reparations" should be addressed. I have thought that the advent of personal computers and the internet and associated skills (let's not forget smart phones) presented and still present a new starting point where minorities can compete on equal opportunity terms with non minorities. Yes, you must have good schools and teachers and supportive families, nevertheless the Declaration of Independence calls for "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness". Looking in the rear view mirror has value, but perhaps more value can be gained by looking to the future. We live in a world where competition and helping and respecting one another all are important.

Todd Witherell
5 months ago

A valiant effort, Ms. Segura. The racism in America is extremely deep and often unconscious. Keep up the good fight! Best wishes to you!

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