Eds. Note: The following statement was issued by the National Black Catholic Sisters’ Conference and run in its entirety in The Black Catholic Messenger. You can read the entire statement on The Black Catholic Messenger’s site at this link. In its editorial note leading into the statement, the editors at The Black Catholic Messenger write: “Following a recent address from Archbishop José Gómez of Los Angeles that excoriated social justice movements (including Black Lives Matter), Black Catholic leaders have spoken out in response—calling his remarks false, irresponsible, and harmful to the African-American community.”
from the National Black Sisters’ Conference
We greet you in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ and His Holy Mother.
Founded in 1968, the National Black Sisters’ Conference (NBSC) is an organization of Black Catholic Women Religious and Associates belonging to congregations and communities from across the United States, the Caribbean and Africa. We are committed to confronting the sin of racism, which continues to permeate our society and Church as we work tirelessly for the liberation of our people.
In 1989, Sister Thea Bowman, FSPA addressed the Conference of Catholic Bishops challenging her “brothers in Christ” to continue to evangelize the African-American community while promoting inclusivity and full participation of African Americans in the Church, and to work tirelessly to eradicate the sin of racism that continues to divide the Body of Christ.
Thirty-two years later, African Americans continue to confront racist systems of oppression as we fight for justice, to have our lives, our Black Lives Matter in the same way that white lives are valued in this country.
Last year, the world watched in shock and disbelief as George Floyd took his last breath under the knee of a police officer, who swore to “serve and protect”. It led to a raw awakening around this nation and world that America did not see or treat her African American citizens as human beings endowed with inalienable rights.
As president of the Bishops’ Conference, Black Catholics had hoped that you and your brother bishops would have acted in solidarity with those who have suffered at the hands of white supremacy since first being kidnapped from their homeland and enslaved with the blessing of the Catholic Church.
In 1968, the National Black Catholic Clergy Caucus declared that the Catholic Church is a “racist institution”, and while significant progress has been made, the Church continues to fail its African American members by its frequent silence and now its condemnation of Black Lives Matter…