Catholic Responses to Racism & “Black Lives Matter”

Here’s a working document of some things I’ve been watching recently to learn more about how I can respond to racism from a Catholic perspective.

EWTN Interview with Bishop Shelton J. Fabre of the Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux, chairman of the USCCB Ad Hoc Committee Against Racism

Teaching: Respect for all life is a foundational teaching of the Church. If that foundation is not sure, everything we build on that foundation is compromised. Racism is a life issue, in addition to the horrors of abortion, euthanasia, and capital punishment. Personal sins of racism have led to systemic racism, creating foundational issues for our society.

Practical: We must read “Open Wide our Hearts” and use the study guide for discussions, to enter into constructive dialogue with others of different racial backgrounds, and being open to allowing this discussion to positively change me and seek racial healing & harmony as we progress towards dismantling both systemic & personal racism.

What Can Catholics Do to Overcome Racism? by Fr. Mark-Mary and Fr. Pierre Trousant

Teaching: The truth of Christ comforts the afflicted and inflicts the comfortable. The reality of racism today is a discomforting truth. Racism is real. It’s like dust in the air. We don’t see it until there is a light shining. Darkness cannot cast out darkness. Only light can. George Floyd’s death is an absolute tragedy – but there’s also a lot more to this than just George Floyd. Don’t dismiss this issue because some people are doing stupid things in response to this all.

Practical: We need grace to see our brothers & sisters as Jesus sees them & feel Jesus’ pain about this issue. “Jesus, help me to see what you see and feel what you feel about this…” And then act upon it because silence is compliance. Invite the Lord to shine light upon any areas of prejudice, racism. Pray for those who are receiving racial hatred and pray for those who are still in the darkness. Start listening well. Ask someone who’s really struggling with this issue. And be public about this!

The Catholic Response to Racism by Fr. Michael Nixon

Teaching: Every person has infinite worth & value & dignity in God’s eyes. Just as Jesus entered into our sin and took upon the sins of others to redeem it, we too must have a Christ-like way of living and enter into this difficult situation. Incarnation – fully God and fully man – leads to “both/and” perspective = We are not either/or – we can recognize the reality of people’s hurts and recognize the value of law enforcement.

Practical: Repent of any sin relating to racism. Listen to the voices of others who have a different perspective. Don’t get drawn into either/or language.

Pope Francis’ words about George Floyd

We cannot turn a blind eye to racism and exclusion in any form and yet claim to defend the sacredness of human life. At the same time, we must assert that violence is self-destructive and self-defeating. We must pray for peace and work for reconciliation.

“I’m a bit racist. And so are you” by Breaking in the Habit

We all know that racism is a sin. It spreads hate and divides the human family. What we don’t always realize is that we are all a part of the problem. Racism isn’t a binary condition in which you either “are” or “are not” racist. We all have biases and blindspots within us, disposing us to thoughts and actions not conducive to solidarity. The sooner we admit to this, the sooner we can start building the just Kingdom of God.

We live in a broken world. We live with limited experiences and have major blindspots. We are all susceptible to racist tendencies. We have not done everything in our power to uphold God’s standard for the dignity of every person. Look deep within yourself. Be honest. Stop being defensive. Stop placing blame on others.

4 Steps to Combat Racism by Fr. John Muir

  1. Gather facts – 1st get the facts straight.
  2. Conversation – then dialogue with others about these facts. Build a relationship and have an honest discussion.
  3. Self-purification – the hardest & most crucial step. Cleanse out the ego, the anger, the emotional reaction, so that you can act out of a pure heart and mind seeking for justice.
  4. Action – this is the last step, whereas so often it’s the 1st or 2nd step.

“Speaking the truth, rooted in love” with Deacon Harold Burke-Sivers

God is inviting today to go beyond a superficial love and into a sacrificial and self-donating love. We must act from the spark of God’s divine love in us to see others as brothers & sisters in Christ.

Healing Racial Injustice in the Body of Christ with Jackie and Bobby

The Body of Christ: When one part of the Body hurts, we all hurt (cf. 1 Cor 12:14-15). Our black brothers & sisters are hurting and we must strive to work for “the unity of the Mystical Body [which] triumphs over all human divisions” (CCC 791). Racism is not just a sin, it’s a spiritual battle that goes beyond politics and into the Body of Christ. Only God’s love can bring healing to the Body of Christ and heal the sin of racism. We must be agents of this love. That’s what transformed the Roman empire.

Practical: Prayer, fasting, almsgiving. Examine yourself. See where you can grow in this. Prove it by your love.

Reconciling the Body of Christ with Fr. Josh & Fr. Mike


  1. Black Fathers Matter

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