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Bishop Shelton J. Fabre of Houma-Thibodaux, La., speaks June 14 during the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' annual spring assembly in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (CNS photo/Bob Roller)

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (CNS) -- A planned pastoral letter addressing racism is on schedule for a November vote by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Bishop Sheldon J. Fabre of Houma-Thibodaux, Louisiana, chairman of the bishop's Ad Hoc Committee on Racism, said during the bishops' spring general assembly June 14 that the document would reflect recommendations from the various audiences that have reviewed drafts of the document.

The bishop said the document will focus on contemporary concerns affecting Native Americans and African-Americans and the "targeting" of Hispanics with racist language and actions.

Among its components, he added, the document will:

-- Reflect "grave concerns for the rise in racist expressions" in American society, public discourse and social media.

-- Address ways racism affects institutions and public policy.

-- Condemn racism and raise awareness of its impact "on all of us."

-- Assist pastors, educators, families and individuals in confronting racism.

-- Encourage honest self-reflection.

He added that recommendations that the document be "not too long" will be followed.

The pastoral letter will be rooted in the clear message of Micah 6:8, which calls on the faithful "to act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God," the bishop said.

Plans are being developed to implement the document in dioceses and parishes so that people witness "the healing hand of God through it," Bishop Fabre said.

After the report, retired Bishop Michael D. Pfeifer of San Angelo, Texas, suggest that the committee incorporate listening sessions in schools beginning this fall so that young people are "aware of this critical issue."

When it comes to implementation of the pastoral letter, Bishop Pfeifer stressed, "we want people to read it," urging that supporting documents that summarize its content be prepared and distributed for families and individuals.

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.
JR Cosgrove
6 years 1 month ago

It will be interesting to see what they say. Will they address the problems of fatherless homes and dysfunctional culture which affects males more than women.

Tim Donovan
6 years 1 month ago

I agree that in general, homes with a father present are ideal families. If course, this assumes that the father is loving towards both his wife and children. Although I believe that there's solid evidence that minority families are more likely to have absent fathers than white families, over the past generation there's been a significant increase in fathers absent from white families as well. I believe that our Church must emphasize the crucial necessity of fathers in all families, regardless of race. Pre-cana courses may be an ideal time to instruct couples in the critical role of both fathers as well as mothers in a family to properly educate and raise children with love.

Tim Donovan
6 years 1 month ago

In my community growing up, we had only a small number of African-Americans.Yet, most black families were better off financially than those of us who were white. Being gay, I was sometimes taunted with a painful slur, but in my family we were taught not to use racist language. When I worked, the majority of my co-workers were black. Now that I live in a nursing home, most of the staff and many of the residents are black. I continue to treat people with respect regardless of their race. I encourage all Catholics to follow the bishops ' lead and fight racism and heal the wounds of all people affected by this sin at all levels and in all institutions of society.

Christopher Lochner
6 years 1 month ago

The Bishops are representative much more of a PAC than a religion. Treating others with respect has always been a very basic teaching of religious Church Fathers. I fear this time the church fathers are more interested not in rectifying basic human interpersonal discord but in using Christ for social experimentation: South American "Catholicism"; should I be surprised? To use a racial epitaph is sinful no doubt. Will the letter convey a concept whereby agreement or disagreement with certain policies is racist? Likely. Is it? Not necessarily but almost certainly if one questions the almost manic desire of the bishops to control viewpoints. Hence, this will not be from Christ and will not be for the betterment of humankind but will be for the authoritarian nature of our modern church leadership but, of course, this is not the True Church suffering as It is.. Lord save us from the princes of the church. And be kind to one another. We certainly do not need the input of the bishops on this issue. If we do we have never been paying attention.

Dr.Cajetan Coelho
6 years 1 month ago

Democratic and advanced nations continue to be in the forefront of spreading the message of equality, fraternity and liberty without wasting time on the issue of skin pigmentation and other petty considerations.

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