Racial Justice and the Catholic Church
By: Bryan N. Massingale
"Lamenting that he sometimes feels like a motherless child... a long ways from home in his own church, Massingale, a black priest and moral theologian, levels a strong indictment of the Catholic response to racial injustice in this review and analysis. After answering the question What is racism? at some length, Massingale delves into Catholic history on the issue, taking apart three documents on racial justice from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in 1958, 1968, and 1979. Although he says the last two improved on the first, which offered nothing in the way of recommendations for action, none was marked by the depth of social analysis found in many of the bishops' other social justice documents. To improve Catholic engagement in racial justice, Massingale proposes using such resources of the tradition as the practice of lament, compassion, solidarity, conversion, baptism, and Eucharist. The author's moving personal reflections add a human face to his message, which readers who have a heart for social justice will no doubt find to be prophetic. "--Publishers Weekly (Feb.) Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc.
Confronting racism is difficult but essential work if we are to heal the brokenness in our society and our church. In the author's words, "We all are wounded by the sin of racism... How can we struggle together against an evil that harms us all?" Racial Justice and the Catholic Church examines the presence of racism in America from its early history through the Civil Rights Movement and the election of Barack Obama. It also explores how Catholic social teaching has been used--and not used--to promote reconciliation and justice.
Massingale writes from an abiding conviction that the Catholic faith and the black experience make essential contributions in the continuing struggle against racial injustice that is the work of all people. His book is essential reading for all those concerned with justice and healing in our world.
Bryan N. Massingale is professor of theological and social ethics at Fordham University in New York. He previously taught at Marquette University, where in 2009 he received that institution’s highest award for excellence in teaching. A consultant to many faith-based justice organizations, he served as president of the Catholic Theological Society of America and convener of the Black Catholic Theological Symposium.