U.S. bishops establish new ad hoc committee against racism

Bishops act to address the sin of racism and seek solutions

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops announced the establishment of an Ad Hoc Committee Against Racism. Initiated by Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, president of the USCCB, the committee will focus on addressing the sin of racism in our society, and even in our Church, and the urgent need to come together as a society to find solutions.

"Recent events have exposed the extent to which the sin of racism continues to inflict our nation. The establishment of this new ad hoc committee will be wholly dedicated to engaging the Church and our society to work together in unity to challenge the sin of racism, to listen to persons who are suffering under this sin, and to come together in the love of Christ to know one another as brothers and sisters," Cardinal DiNardo said.

Bishop George V. Murry, S.J., of Youngstown, Ohio, has been appointed by Cardinal DiNardo as chairman of the committee. The membership of the committee will be finalized in the coming days and its mandate will be confirmed at the first meeting, expected shortly.

"I look forward to working with my brother bishops as well as communities across the United States to listen to the needs of individuals who have suffered under the sin of racism and together find solutions to this epidemic of hate that has plagued our nation for far too long," Bishop Murry said.

"Through Jesus' example of love and mercy, we are called to be a better people than what we have witnessed over the past weeks and months as a nation. Through listening, prayer and meaningful collaboration, I'm hopeful we can find lasting solutions and common ground where racism will no longer find a place in our hearts or in our society."

The new ad hoc committee has been formed upon the unanimous recommendation of the U.S. Bishops Conference Executive Committee and in consultation with members of the USCCB's Committee on Priorities and Plans. The establishment of the committee also will welcome and support the implementation of the pastoral letter on racism anticipated for release in 2018.

The formation of the ad hoc committee follows the conclusion of the work of the Peace in Our Communities Task Force. The Task Force was formed in July 2016 by then USCCB President Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz in response to racially-related shootings in Baton Rouge, Minneapolis and Dallas.

Nearly 40 years ago, the bishops of the United States wrote a Pastoral Letter on Racism. Among the many things they discussed was the fact that "Racism is a sin: a sin that divides the human family, blots out the image of God among specific members of that family, and violates the fundamental human dignity of those called to be children of the same Father."