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Shirley Harris-Slaughter


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.

At another time, the monsignor did take a stand against same-sex marriage at a Sunday mass. He told us in no uncertain terms that the Church stands for marriage between a man and a woman. I know this same stance was preached around the country. The Leaders of the Church made sure we understood this lesson.

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.

It is another lesson missed.

Email: sharrislaughter@gmail.com
TWITTER: https://twitter.com/sharrislaughter