Committee on Cultural Diversity in the Church3211 FOURTH STREET NE WASHINGTON DC, 20017 - 1194202-541-3350. FAX: 202- 541-5417. WWW.USCCB.ORG/SCDCApril 2014Dear Brothers and Sisters,I am pleased to offer this abridged revision of Love Thy Neighbor As Thyself: U.S.Catholic Bishops Speak Against Racism. Initially issued by the Committee on African AmericanCatholics in 2001, as a compilation of more than three dozen articles by bishops from all regionsof the country, Love Thy Neighbor As Thyself offered tangible examples of local initiativesundertaken to combat racism. This current online resource is a selection of eight hopefulexamples. It includes the prospective of several branches of the Catholic family.These brief articles remain timely and inspirational. They are intended to serve as aplatform for further reflection and action in parishes, schools and other Catholic organizations.This tool can help pastoral leaders, educators and parishioners build capacity to relate well inintercultural settings.As we value God’s gift of diversity in the Church we discover that we are strongerproponents in the evangelizing mission of the Church when we work together for the good ofall. Thus, it is my hope that this resource will bring us closer to Our Lord’s vision that we willgrow to love one another as God loves us.Yours in Christ the Lord,Most Rev. Daniel E. Flores, ChairCommittee on Cultural Diversity in the Church
Photo Credits: Photo of the African Conference of Catholic Clergy and Religious in the United States2013 (p. 1); Photo of Lao Catholic Community of Milwaukee (p. 3) by Wouane Rasavong; Photo ofJulienne Montour and Darguise Izak (p. 5) by Father Henry Sands; iStock.com/Mark Bowden (p.6); iStock.com/Christopher Futcher (p. 11); Photo of World Youth Day 2013 (p. 14) by Sister JoannaOkereke; iStock.com/Christopher Futcher (p. 19). For all iStock photos, (i) the Content is being usedfor illustrative purposes only; and (ii) any person depicted in the Content is a model.Copyright 2001, 2014 United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Washington, D.C. All rightsreserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrievalsystem, without permission in writing from the copyright holder.
Address to the United States Catholic Conferencefor Their Dialogue on RacismBy Most Rev. Curtis J. Guillory, SVDNOVEMBER 1998I. Twenty years ago this conference promulgated the pastoral letter Brothers and Sistersto Us: U.S. Bishops’ Pastoral Letter on Racismin Our Day, which stated that racism is a sinbecause it blots out the image of God anddivides the human family. It also providesideas and programs on how to eradicateracism.Certainly, much progress has been accomplished. Hopefully, in our discussion, someof you will, in your diocese and archdiocese, talk about what you are doing that iseffective in eradicating racism.Yet as much as we would liketo believe that the question ofracism in society and in theChurch is behind us, ongoingracial incidents continue toremind us that it is a scar inour society and Church that wemust face. Examples are blatantincidents such as the brutalkilling of James Byrd in Jasper,Texas, or in Independence,Virginia, where a White manby the name of Emmett CreselJr. set Garrett Johnson, a Black man, on fireand then beheaded him. Then there werethe church burnings last summer. Thoughthey were not all racially motivated, toou . s .C a t h o l i cmany were. Those are the blatant incidentsof racism that get media attention andquick condemnation by people of faith andgoodwill. However, there are the moresubtle incidents of racism that take placein society and the Church. There is theAfrican American youth who is eyed orfollowed in the mall or stores. There is thewell-dressed African American male whois unable to get a cab, not because he cannot pay for the ride, but simply because heis Black. Only 2 percent of people of colorhave decision making positions in diocesesand archdioceses. There are 140 websitespushing racial hatred and many of these aredirected toward children, the belief beingthat if you capture the mind of childrenyou have them forever. There is the AfricanAmerican woman who extends her handb i s h o p ss p e a ka g a i n s tr a c i s m 1
at the kiss of peace at a Eucharistic celebration and isrefused the kiss of peace. Such subtle forms of racismare in many ways much harder to deal with since forthe most part, they are only known by the victim andthe perpetrator.II. Beyond Tolerance to Reconciliation. In its reportto the president, after hearings on race throughoutthe country, the President’s Advisory Commission onRace said that the president should call on the nationto be more tolerant of race. In the minds of many,tolerance is the goal in racial relations. However, forChristians and Catholics in particular, the goal goesbeyond to the deeper level of actual reconciliation.The Gospel of Jesus Christ and the social teachingsof the Church call upon us as teachers and as believers to go beyond tolerance. Tolerance might be thebeginning but it is not the end. Tolerance of anothermeans accommodation, existing at a comfortable distance, or co-existing with the other. Tolerance callsone to deal with another of a different ethnic or racialbackground as required by the law. However, as youso well know, the law does not change hearts. TheChurch today is being called upon to change heartswith the Word of God, the social teachings of theChurch and programs geared toward understanding and respect for the privilege of difference. InGalatians (3:28) “Since everyone of you that has beenbaptized has been clothed in Christ, there can be neither Jew nor Greek, there can be neither slave or freeman, there can be neither male nor female—for youare all one in Christ Jesus.” Paul calls us to go beyondtolerance. He calls us to dialogue, to engage in conversation, in extended interaction. He calls us to bereconciled about the past, embrace the reconciled pastand be strengthened to face the future.It is important to mention and to praise the voice ofthe conference and that of individual bishops who2 l o v et h yN e i g h b o ra st h y s e l fhave put out documents urging acceptance and reconciliation. However, in spite of the progress thathas been made, much needs to be done. We are notnecessarily advocating new programs, but much goodcould be done if we revisited and implemented whatwe have already written: documents such as Brothersand Sisters to Us, Economic Justice For All and LoveOne Another. These and others such as the Vatican’sTowards a Fraternal Society are just as relevant today asthey were when they were first released.In his 1994 Apostolic Letter On the Coming of the ThirdMillennium, the Holy Father said that while the greatjubilee year of the year 2000 is to be a time of joyfulcelebration, the joy should be based on forgivenessand reconciliation.The time has come for us to help our people engagein honest and constructive dialogue that will lead tothis reconciliation, trust and understanding. There arethose who feel there are no racial problems. Otherssee race in every incident. Still others, and perhapsthe majority of people, want to deal with this scar,but do not know how or where to begin. When Mr.Byrd’s sister was asked by a reporter about how shefelt toward the three men who had brutally killedher brother, she responded that she and her familyforgave them because they were not brought up tohate. What an example for us as we strive to forgive!Armed with the Word of God and the social teachingsof the Church, we must help our people so that Jesus’prayer, “That they might all be one,” can indeed be areality. And so let us not grow weary or tired in ourown efforts to eradicate racism and to promote truepeace and reconciliation among those we serve. nMost Rev. Curtis J. Guillory, SVD is the Bishop ofBeaumont, Texas.
Remarks on the Asian ExperienceBy Most Rev. John S. CumminsI. Our city of Oakland has a Chinatown acentury and a half old. It is a circumscribeddowntown neighborhood, which exists astestimony to the history of residential andoccupational restrictions on the Chinese inthe area.allowed to testify in court against those ofEuropean descent. In 1882, California led theUnited States Congress to pass a ChineseExclusion Act prohibiting Chinese laborersfrom entering the United States and Chineseimmigrants already present from becomingUnited States citizens. That law lasted from1882 until it was repealed in 1943.II. This downtown site rests in the context ofthe state of California. Despite the contribution of the Chinese to the building of railroads, farms, wineries and cities, Californiain the 1860s barred Chinese children fromattending public schools. They were notIII. Chinese are one illustration of the Asianexperience in the United States. That word“Asia” represents a very big world. Assomeone has said, “from the Bosporus toVladivostok” and from Indonesia to Korea.For us in particular, that word includesNOVEMBER 1998u . s .C a t h o l i cb i s h o p ss p e a ka g a i n s tr a c i s m 3
some of the most ancient Christian churches in theNear and Middle East and in India, predominantlyOriental Rite, and the youngest churches as well. Wefurther add, that from the perspective of our Migrationand Refugee Services Committee, the pastoral categoryincludes not just Asian, but Pacific Islanders as well.IV. The United States’ experience records these actsof exclusion. It witnesses too, the inability of Filipinoworkers in the early part of the century to bring theirwives with them. There are marks of burdensome laborpractices in California and Hawaii, affecting very muchthe Japanese and Filipinos. Through the years Asianshave suffered from very low immigration quotas.That represents the past. There are newer elementsin the present. Though often seen as an “acceptableminority,” a label Asians feel patronizing, many fromAsia still feel the glass ceiling of opportunity in somany areas of life. We can add to this also a sense ofconcern among recently arrived Moslems, whetherthey will receive acceptance in this country.V. I would add two current comments. One of these isfrom history and heritage. There has existed, even to4 l o v et h yN e i g h b o ra st h y s e l fthe present, a class preference in many Asian communities, often economically based, clearly social, distinguishing and discriminating. The wisdom of Paul VI,in Evangelii Nuntiandi, can be heard: “All cultures arein need of evangelization.”Secondly, many first-generation Asians were ruraland uneducated. They accepted their disadvantagedstatus because they wanted a better life for the generations to come. Today we see a much more assertiveleadership in Asian communities, even in better-educated new arrivals. Second and third generations herehave benefited from educational opportunity andhave entered professions, technical fields and in morerecent times, politics. Part of that rising self-awarenessbelongs to our Asian Catholics. These represent twomillion members of the Church, who seek, albeitpolitely, recognition, felt by some long overdue, onthe part of the church leadership. They seek acknowledgment of their presence, participation and generouscontribution to the life of the Church in this country. nMost Rev. John S. Cummins is the Bishop Emeritus ofOakland, California.
Remarks on the Native American ProspectiveBy Most Rev. Paul A. ZipfelIn my estimation there is much denial of theracism that exists in our own communities.People either don’t see it or don’t want tosee it. When we don’t see the problem, thereis little chance that it can be corrected. nNOVEMBER 1998Although I have been in the diocese ofBismarck, North Dakota, for a little lessthan two years, it has become clear to methat there is both subtle and not-so-subtlediscrimination directed at the NativeAmerican population.Most Rev. Paul A. Zipfel is the BishopEmeritus of Bismarck, North Dakota.I would like to suggest some signs of thisdiscrimination that still exist today.Because so many people do not understandthe Treaty Rights that have existed for years,they make the judgment that support ofthe Native American is nothing more thanwelfare. As a result the American Indian isoften seen as irresponsible and lazy.Because of the segregation that the reservation brings about, people of other raceshave little understanding of customs andtraditions of our Indian brothers and sisters.In addition, there is little interest in learningabout them.Although efforts are being made by bothchurch and state, many Native Americanshave limited opportunities for effectiveeducation and health care. Attempts tomove into communities outside the reservation can result in unfounded fear. Mostfeel very unwelcome when they are theminority race.u . s .C a t h o l i cb i s h o p ss p e a ka g a i n s tr a c i s m 5
Remarks on the Hispanic/Latino ProspectiveBy Most Rev. Gerald R. BarnesNOVEMBER 1998Racism toward the Hispanic/Latino community is a historic and well-documentedfact in the United States. One can read thehistory of the different regions of this country to see that violence and hatred havebeen directed toward Latinos. Today wesee the effects of racism in the political andeconomic arena, in education, in social concerns, and in our Church.6 l o v et h yN e i g h b o ra st h y s e l fIn the political arena, race is being used topromote anti-Latino sentiments, particularly in statewide initiatives like California’sProposition 187. Other similar initiatives—like affirmative action, anti-bilingual education, and the English Only Movement—are being promoted throughout the UnitedStates, and the Latino community is thetarget of many of these efforts. Theseinitiatives divide the greater communityand harm the image of the Latino bypromoting negative stereotypes.