On a Sunday, a couple of weeks ago, I stood up at mass and asked the pastor, “Why has the Catholic Church not taken a stand against the Charleston 9 shootings? Why hasn’t the Church extolled the virtues of the families of the victims, who forgave the murderer, that finally brought down the confederate flag?”
It was a lesson missed.
The Monsignor responded to my question by telling me of the communication that went out to the media and other outlets talking about this issue. He said they will be talking about race during “REVIVE DETROIT” coming in August. The first of three evangelization initiatives called Amazing Grace, Overcoming Race will begin August 20th at St. Scholastica. The second initiative takes place at Presentation/Our Lady of Victory housed in St. Scholastica’s chapel.
That was not a satisfactory answer about an issue that has captured the country’s attention; and nothing he can say will ever justify a missed opportunity to teach a vital lesson to the masses. It’s like a dead silence has enveloped the church. How could they not say something? Because that is the way the Catholic Church is. When they should have spoken out against all the atrocities that have been committed over the years, they never spoke out against anything or stood out to take the lead in doing the right thing. They remained silent and became part of the problem.
When I wrote my book, Our Lady of Victory, The Saga of an African American Catholic Community I had no idea that I would be digging up racial hurt and pain; and I was surprised to learn things that I wasn’t supposed to know about. Imagine my disappointment in learning that the Church was sometimes the culprit in many transgressions that were committed. No wonder there are so few Blacks in the Catholic Church. You go where you are welcomed and cared for. Many Rave Reviews Book Club members stated that they never knew there were Blacks in the Catholic Church. Maybe they need to ask themselves, “Why?” To me it was a shocking revelation.
It’s a real shame that I have doubts about the only Church I ever knew and I am one step away from leaving the Church altogether. I need help because my faith is really being tested now. All of this is very painful and hard to take.
My son has always been a responsible father and husband, and I worry about him constantly because of what is going on across the country with police brutality. I worry about all our daughters too. They just killed a woman days ago and her name has been added to the rallying cry. She was on her way to her new job and was stopped, slammed to the ground and found hanging in her cell dead. The police said she committed suicide. Her family and friends aren’t buying it. No one in the community is buying it either. This can happen to anyone – anywhere. Who is safe?
These atrocities are happening while the Church is silent and has remained silent when it should be speaking out and taking a stand as the moral authority.
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I was fit to be tied and so I had to blog about this missed opportunity to teach a lesson.
Shirley, first of all, I am a Catholic. I must agree with you that the Catholic Church,s stand on issues regarding racism has always been clearly divisive. My experience in my own church in New Jersey, for instance, is that we black are invisible. The priests don’t acknowledge us. We only count as numbers for when they will take the tithes or offerings.
My son in law who was an usher in the church died, and no one in the church reached out to us. Mind you, I have been in that church’s choir for fifteen years, and so have my grand children. When I confronted our priest about this, and accused him of racism, he came after me swinging.
My daughter and grand kids wanted us to pull out of that church, but I said no. I told them that our church, the Catholic church, is for Christ and not for white or black, and we must not run. That we should go back and try to fix whatever is wrong.
I went back to my priest, and we talked things over, He finally agreed that they have done little to assimilate the blacks in the church, and we parted way more amicably. I suggested a few programs that can help in making the blacks more involved in church activities. He accepted my suggestions, and I am looking forward to implementing some of those suggested programs when I go back to Jersey.
This problem with the Catholic church is universal. But we shouldn’t run from one church to another. We should stay and fix the problems. Speaking out boldly will help.
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Joy what is happening to you is typical of the Church. My sister left a long time ago because she didn’t feel cared for in a church she joined. Now she is a Jehovah’s Witness. I can’t tell you how disappointed I am in her choice. But she is not a fighter, just a complainer. You are very strong because so many of us just give up the fight. Sometimes just trying to survive in this life takes up a lot of time and everybody can’t be leaders. Thank you so much for your comment.
Shirley, this was an AWESOME blog post! And you are so right, there was a missed opportunity for a lesson to be taught. Thank you for bringing it to our attention and thank you for keeping this ongoing problem of race-relations, etc. at the fore-front of our minds. You’re just total awesome-sauce!
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Nonnie I appreciate your response to this blog as I was almost hesitant to write it. I thought I would get no comments. You are such a leader, so brave and so bold in your own right. This is a topic that we need to speak out on when lives have been lost. They count just like everybody else and deserve our prayers at least.
Shirley, I was amazed at your boldness to go before your Monsignor and demand an answer. It is bravery like that which will bring this double standard or dual America to an end. We must talk about the problem and our churches, especially black Baptist churches, (where I’m from, by the way) used to be at the forefront of the discussion. We don’t talk about actions or any lessons to be learned either. We just pray. Imagine where we’d be in this 21st Century if all our ancestors had done was pray.
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Well Linda, the Monsignor has been assigned to our church to assist our deacon who is the administrator which means he runs everything. But we need a priest to get the sacraments. That’s why it was so easy for me to ask him. I don’t have the same level of respect that I used to have towards higher authority because they don’t stand up for anything. I just got an invitation from Everytown to join a rally over at Greater Christ Baptist Church. Its on the far east side of Detroit from where I live so I will be sending up my prayers for their success. That Baptist church is doing it. So Linda some of your churches are still at the forefront. I’m so saddened that mine isn’t. I wish I could get to the Pope. lol.
Great article, Shirley! Being “politically correct” or not “roughing the feathers” of those who give money seems to have precedence over right versus wrong, equality, integrity and “love one another as I have loved you.” Let’s keep trying . . . .
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Eichin Chang-Lim thank you for liking this page. It was posted in 2015 but every now and then, someone finds it. I’m glad to see you and everyone else here who came later. Its awesome.
John I didn’t expect you to find this page. So what a surprise that this story has resurrected again. Are you following me? Because I featured you last week and you didn’t show up. Just saying!
I am amazed that this page keeps circulating after all of this time. I posted it in 2015. Seeing Joy here today has prompted me to respond yet again. I also need to acknowledge the others who liked my page. Nonnie, John, Eichen, Nicholas, Mark, Susan, from the RRBC club. Thank you all so much and keep sharing and circulating.