Purvis, who is black, has in recent weeks been a frequent speaker in Catholic media on topics related to racial justice and police brutality. She told CNA she has faced considerable backlash from listeners and readers for expressing her views on the subject, even though, she says, her views do not conflict with Catholic teaching.
“This is a huge moment in our country, where now we have people’s attention, and shame on us if we as Catholics shy away from preaching the Gospel, shy away from those difficult discussions. No one should expect to encounter the Gospel and remain unchanged.”
Purvis said her show might be misunderstood, because she aims to emphasize an approach that tries to give a fair hearing to all voices on the issues, and “then talk from there about what the faith says, or how the faith impacts the topic. Sometimes people miss that because their focus is on how to ‘win’ and not about how we have to serve.”
Despite backlash, she said, she is not going to think twice about offering her views on racial justice. “All of this has not made me second guess. I am going to persevere.”
“Every time a citizen’s life is taken, we need to question that vigorously, not because of who is taking the life, but because of who we are as Catholics.”
Adding that she has an opinion “informed by Church teaching,” Purvis told CNA that “anytime there could be an injustice against someone else— whether it’s in the womb or in the street — we have to speak out, to help try to build a culture of life.”
In a statement released June 26, Purvis said that she “will continue to speak the truth about the human person and that includes discussing racism and other evils.”
“I do not fear the hard work of bringing the light of the Gospel to bear on these issues. Not everyone will receive the message joyfully and there will be opposition but because I love Jesus and believe in the beauty and truth of His message, I will persevere.”
“I will use whatever means the Lord gives me to spread His truth about the dignity of the human person from the womb to the tomb, from the immigrant to the citizen, from the powerful to the vulnerable. There are no throw-away people.”
Purvis has said that she feels it is her Christian obligation to speak out against racism and injustice- on “Morning Glory,” and to other media and in other platforms.
Earlier this month, she told a panel at Georgetown University that she watched the video of George Floyd’s arrest and death in horror, wanting to yell at the police officer kneeling on his neck, “Stop in the name of God! Stop!”
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“I just thought the image of God is being abused right here in front of me,” she said.
She has faced backlash for her use of the popular racial justice slogan “Black Lives Matter,” although she told CNA this month that her use of the phrase does not constitute support for national Black Lives Matter organizations, whose platforms are at odds with Catholic teaching.
“For me, as a Catholic, a devout Catholic, as a loyal daughter of the Church, I have no problem saying ‘Black Lives Matter,’” she said.
“I know it doesn’t make me a member of the organization.”
Some Catholics hesitate to attend protests or other events because they say that not only “black lives matter,” but that “all lives matter,” she noted.
Purvis explained that the phrase “Black Lives Matter” is not meant to devalue the lives of others, and while all lives do matter, she has observed that “in practice” in the U.S., “what we’ve seen is that black lives don’t.”