Bishops' pastoral letter on racism on track for November vote

IMAGE: CNS photo/Bob Roller

By Dennis Sadowski

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

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.

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