By Catholic News Service

Sr. Patty Chappell, SNDdeN, speaks at the event at Most Holy Redeemer on Sunday.
Sr. Patty Chappell, SNDdeN, speaks at the event at Most Holy Redeemer on Sunday.

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Making realities of the dreams that the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. spoke of in his 1963 address at the March on Washington will mean Catholics must stop being complacent about militarism, racism and poverty, summed up Sister Patricia Chappell, executive director of Pax Christi USA. In a “Catholic conversation” on the church, race and the march Aug. 25 amid events marking the 50th anniversary of the march, Sister Patricia, a Sister of Notre Dame de Namur, drew applause and cries of support from the audience of nearly 200 people at the mostly full sanctuary of historically African-American Holy Redeemer Catholic Church. She called for the church to “go back to Catholic social teaching” because it clearly lays out responsibility to speak up in support of education, housing and job programs that would help the poor. Sister Patricia said the institutional church has done too little recently to speak up about the systems that allow racism to continue to exist. “We need to make a connection between militarism, racism and poverty,” she said. “As Catholics we need to either put up or shut up.” She was joined on the panel by Labor Secretary Tom Perez, a parishioner at Holy Redeemer, who touched on the intersection of issues stemming from his previous position as head of the civil rights division at the Department of Justice and his current position. Perez observed that while there is an African-American president, an African-American attorney general and women and minorities on the Supreme Court, too many people, especially minorities and immigrants, live in the shadows of society. He said it should be a “moral and economic imperative” for Americans and people of faith to support issues like universal health care access, comprehensive immigration reform, restoring the Voting Rights Act and raising the minimum wage.

One thought on “RACISM: Catholics called to step up in ongoing fight against racism

  1. I am all for exploring the connection between militarism, racism and poverty. However, it is more important to explore the connection between strong families, abortion, racism and poverty.

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