Dwell In My Love
A Pastoral Letter on Racism
by Francis Cardinal George, O.M.I.
4. Conclusion: An Agenda for Addressing
Racial and Systemic Injustice
Holy Scripture and Catholic social teachings proclaim the dignity
of the human person and enjoin us to reform the structures of
our society that ignore and undermine this fundamental truth.
We are called not only to a radical conversion of heart but to
a transformation of socially sinful structures as well.
Following are some suggestions for taking the necessary steps
to dwell in God's love and to address racial and systemic injustice:
- Provide sessions on the importance of ethnic and racial diversity
for Archdiocesan and parish staffs, pastors, principals and
- Evaluate administrative hiring patterns so that persons in
managerial and decision-making positions in the Archdiocese
reflect the ethnic and racial composition of our diverse Catholic
- Identify and nurture vocations among African Americans, Hispanics,
Asians and Native peoples to serve as priests, deacons, religious
women and men, and lay ecclesial ministers.
- Educate for ministry in a racially, ethnically and culturally
- Implement the Archdiocesan purchasing policies, which commit
us to doing business with minority vendors.
- Join support groups working for racial justice in the workplace,
i.e. Project Equality.
- Avoid investing in companies that tolerate racism.
- Advocate for improved public transportation, allowing people
in inner city and neighboring suburban communities to take jobs
in out-lying suburban areas.
- Support church-based community organizations that work for
- Participate in Archdiocesan programs, such as the Workshops
on Racism and Ethnic Sensitivity, designed to bring about better
race relations in the parishes and neighborhoods.
- Foster hospitality in general but especially to those that
are culturally different from the dominant culture of the parish.
- Participate in programs to identify and nurture vocations
among African Americans, Hispanics, Asians and Native peoples
as priests, deacons, religious women and men, and lay ecclesial
Identify demographic trends in the parish, specify the particular
issues of racial and ethnic diversity facing the parish and
establish strategies to address these challenges from a vision
of faith. Network with other parishes working for racial justice
in their communities. Watch always for the destruction of neighborhoods
by covert redlining.
- Participate in civic and ecumenical/interfaith organizations
that work to promote racial justice.
- Begin the "Welcoming Our Neighbor" process in the
parish by sponsoring a couple of families to transition out
of public housing into the parish neighborhood.
- Participate in the Archdiocesan Sharing Parish program and
develop the sharing relationships across racial and cultural
- Take part in church-based community organizations that work
for economic justice
Liturgy is the worship of God. It should not be manipulated into
directly serving any other purpose, even with good intentions
and for a good cause. Nonetheless, the liturgy should make visible
the unity which incorporates the diversity of Christ's people.
It makes intercession, through Christ, for the forgiveness of
our sins, including the sin of racism, and gives us the means
to become a holy people.
- Develop liturgical resources to celebrate unity in diversity
and express the sinful nature of racism.
- When appropriate, celebrate liturgies where the expression
of our faith is reflected in the religious symbols, music and
history of the many different peoples that make up the Archdiocese.
- Sponsor an annual Lenten service focused on racial reconciliation.
- Plan a Sunday as an anti-racism Sabbath.
- Include prayers for racial reconciliation and an end to racism
in the intercessory prayers at the weekend liturgies.
- Preach on racism and racial justice.
- Celebrate through liturgies and festivals the racial and ethnic
heritage of parishioners.
- Develop homilies for Pentecost, Corpus Christi and Trinity
Sunday which interpret the assigned scriptures from the perspective
of the call to human and ecclesial unity of all peoples in Christ.
- Pray for guidance and an end to racism, asking the intercession
of saints such as St. Martin De Porres, St. Katharine Drexel,
St. Josephine Bakhita, St. Peter Claver, Bl. Kateri Tekakwitha,
Bl. Juan Diego, and others who have especially promoted racial
harmony and social justice.
Catholic Elementary Schools, High Schools, Colleges and Universities
- Support the efforts of the Office of Catholic Schools' Racial
Justice Committee, the Principals' Anti-Racism Committee and
Catholic Schools Opposing Racism (COR).
- Diversify faculties and search for administrators and teachers
that will be role models, especially for students of color.
- Use multicultural learning materials.
- Offer educational events that deal with racial justice, not
only with the principles of our faith but with the history of
our country. The enslavement of African Americans, the wars
against the Native peoples, and the struggle for equality before
the law should be taught and analyzed in the light of faith.
- Integrate in art, music, literature, history, science and
religion courses the contributions of Hispanic,
Asian, Native and African American peoples.
- Continue to work for justice in funding Catholic schools in
order to give all students the education necessary to experience
personal success and contribute to the common good.
- Publish materials on racism in the public media and on the
- Offer adults the opportunity to enter into a tutor-mentor
relationship with underprivileged and at-risk students.
- Engage schools, especially schools in the parish-sharing program,
to do student cultural and academic exchanges.
- Continue to support the Catholic Campaign for Human Development,
the anti-poverty program of the United States Catholic Conference,
which aims to help poor people address the root causes of poverty.
- Watch real estate, housing and land use policies, especially
in the communities where the Church owns land, in order to oppose
economic segregation and foster the development of affordable
Support mass transit development throughout the metropolitan
- Advocate for "fair share housing," in which a percentage
of subsidized housing units are reserved for poor people in
- Support just housing principles, so that mortgages can be
obtained by the poor, and the negotiations of sales or rentals
do not include price fixing, steering or blockbusting.
- Promote tax-sharing policies between wealthy and poor communities.
These policies establish more equitable tax bases and lower
tax-rates everywhere, allowing poorer communities to attract
jobs and to pay for social and public services.
- Defend life by supporting legislation that opposes abortion
and the death penalty.
- Support local organizations that work for fair housing and
racial harmony, such as the Leadership Council for Metropolitan
Open Communities and the Human Relations Foundation of Chicago.
- Vote for public officials committed to racial and systemic
For more information, contact the Office for Peace and Justice
(312) -8390 and the Office for Racial Justice (312) -8336.
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