Addressing Racism

Pope Francis wrote in Fratelli Tutti that “Racism is a virus that quickly mutates and, instead of disappearing, goes into hiding, and lurks in waiting.” This Black History Month, we are reminded that racism continues to plague our country, our institutions and, yes, even our Church. It’s not enough to simply seek to build a Church that is diverse and inclusive, we must build a Church that is anti-racist. 

At Leadership Roundtable, we acknowledge the role our individual and collective privilege has played in the systemic racism that has marginalized black, Hispanic/Latino, Asian and Pacific Islander, and indigenous Catholics. We acknowledge that our organization requires change to become more racially diverse both among our staff and our board of directors so as to more fully reflect the Church we serve. We commit to actively addressing this in our hiring, contracting and how we operate. 

As a Catholic organization, we commit to elevating the voices of people of color through our convenings, appointing a more racially diverse board of directors and staff, working with black and woman-owned businesses, and actively engaging more racially diverse voices in the leadership of the Church through programs like our Latino Pastoral Leaders Initiative. We know this is not enough. There is more we still need to do. 

At our 2020 Catholic Partnership Summit, we recognized that our Church leadership still does not reflect the people of our faith. A recent study by Pew Research confirmed that black Catholics in particular remain largely absent from the leadership table and decision making. Black Catholic leaders who have risen into leadership roles have battled both systemic and personal racism along the way. 

Eradicating the sin of racism and the systems that support it requires becoming anti-racist as individuals and as a faith community. In this newsletter, we share with you two dioceses that have made anti-racism part of their missions through prayer, education, and action. We also share resources each of us can use to personally become anti-racist. 

We hope you will each join us as we step up and answer the call to confess and address our own role in the racism within our Church, commit to build an anti-racist Church, and take the next step in our journey to eradicate racism in our Church and our world. 


This piece was originally published in Leadership Roundtable’s February 2021 newsletter.

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