"What Is Racism? Racism arises when—either consciously or unconsciously—a person holds that his or her own race or ethnicity is superior, and therefore judges persons of other races or ethnicities as inferior and unworthy of equal regard. When this conviction or attitude leads individuals or groups to exclude, ridicule, mistreat, or unjustly discriminate against persons on the basis of their race or ethnicity, it is sinful. Racist acts are sinful because they violate justice. They reveal a failure to acknowledge the human dignity of the persons offended, to recognize them as the neighbors Christ calls us to love (Mt 22:39)." (Open Wide Our Hearts, p. 3)
"What is needed, and what we are calling for, is a genuine conversion of heart, a conversion that will compel change, and the reform of our institutions and society. Conversion is a long road to travel for the individual. Moving our nation to a full realization of the promise of liberty, equality, and justice for all is even more challenging. However, in Christ we can find the strength and the grace necessary to make that journey." (Open Wide Our Hearts, p. 7)
Mary, friend and mother to all,
through your Son, God has found a way
to unite himself to every human being,
called to be one people,
sisters and brothers to each other.
We ask for your help in calling on your Son,
seeking forgiveness for the times when
we have failed to love and respect one another.
We ask for your help in obtaining from your Son
the grace we need to overcome the evil of racism
and to build a just society.
We ask for your help in following your Son,
so that prejudice and animosity
will no longer infect our minds or hearts
but will be replaced with a love that respects
the dignity of each person.
Mother of the Church,
the Spirit of your Son Jesus
warms our hearts:
pray for us.
Prayer and Education Resources
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Resources on Combatting Racism (including school and parish resources, study guide, and sample prayer service)
Open Wide Our Hearts (USCCB)
Address of His Holiness Pope John Paul II to a Symposium on the Roots of Anti-Judaism (1997) ("Racism is thus a negation of the deepest identity of the human being, who is a person created in the image and likeness of God.")
Nostra Aetate (Declaration on the Relation of the Church to Non-Christian Religions (1965) ("We cannot truly call on God, the Father of all, if we refuse to treat in a brotherly way any man, created as he is in the image of God. Man's relation to God the Father and his relatino to men his brothers are so linked together that Scripture says: 'He who does not love does not know God' (1 John 4:8).")
Mit Brennender Sorge (Encyclical of Pope Pius XI on the Church and the German Reich) (1937) (“Whoever exalts race, or the people, or the State, or a particular form of State, or the depositories of power, or any other fundamental value of the human community - however necessary and honorable be their function in worldly things - whoever raises these notions above their standard value and divinizes them to an idolatrous level, distorts and perverts an order of the world planned and created by God; he is far from the true faith in God and from the concept of life which that faith upholds.”)