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From the Bishop: Racism is a sin that defiles the image of God



A Statement by Bishop Malooly


I stand with many U.S. bishops in condemning the evils of racism, white supremacy and neo-Nazism that were evident during two days of demonstrations in Charlottesville, Va., Aug. 11 and 12. Our prayers go out to the families of those who lost their lives during the protests and to those who were injured.

The U.S. bishops wrote in their 1979 pastoral statement, “Brothers and Sisters to Us,” that “racism is a sin.” That simple statement was as self-evident then as it is now, but racism — which Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Philadelphia recently called America’s “original sin,” evidenced in our tragic history of legal slavery — is a sin that persists.­­­

After years of visible progress made in racial equality, it was shocking to see racist attitudes blatantly proclaimed by many in Charlottesville in white supremacist and anti-Semitic chants.

As the bishops wrote in 1979, “racism is more than a disregard for the words of Jesus; it is a denial of the truth of the dignity of each human being revealed by the mystery of the Incarnation.”

A photo of Heather Heyer is placed Aug. 14 among flowers where the car attack on a group of white nationalist counter-protesters took place in Charlottesville, Va., Aug. 12. Heyer was killed by the car driven into the crowd.
CNS/Justin Ide/Reuters

I urge all the faithful of the Diocese of Wilmington to pray for the leaders of our country and for all citizens to drive out the historic vestiges of hate and discrimination in our society and in our hearts. All Christians, believers and people of good will must make it a public responsibility as well as an individual concern to accept all people as our brothers and sisters, to eliminate covert prejudices and refuse to tolerate overt discrimination of any of our neighbors.

As the U.S. bishops wrote in 1979: “Therefore, let the Church proclaim to all that the sin of racism defiles the image of God and degrades the sacred dignity of humankind, which has been revealed by the mystery of the Incarnation. Let all know that it is a terrible sin that mocks the cross of Christ and ridicules the Incarnation. For the brother and sister of our Brother Jesus Christ are brother and sister to us.”