Washington D.C., Nov 1, 2017 / 14:00 pm
In a new pastoral letter on racism, the Archbishop of Washington has encouraged Catholics to recognize the dignity of every human person, and to address the challenges – both subtle and obvious – posed to that dignity by various kinds of racism and discrimination in the United States.
The Catholic Church has a very important role in speaking out on racism – particularly within the Archdiocese of Washington, explained Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington, in an interview with CNA. "As I say in the letter, it falls to the Church to be the conscience of the nation. That's our task."
"When it comes to something as critical as what's happening in the area of racism, we all agree that our people, our priests, should give some sort of spiritual and pastoral leadership."
The process of writing the letter, titled "The Challenge of Racism Today" began years ago, after an archdiocesan synod identified racism and diversity as priorities to be addressed by the archdiocese, Wuerl told CNA. Prominent instances of racial discrimination over the past several years, in addition to movement by the U.S. bishops to address racism around the country, demonstrated the need to issue a pastoral letter addressing the issue for the archdiocese, he said. The letter is addressed to the clergy, religious, and laity of the Archdiocese of Washington.