Detroit Archbishop Issues Statement in Support of US Catholic Bishops' Ad Hoc Committee Against Racism

Aug 23, 2017
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Holly Fournier,

Detroit Archbishop Allen Vigneron has responded to news that the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has established an Ad Hoc Committee Against Racism with the following statement:

Just last month in Detroit, we remembered the 50th anniversary of the 1967 civil disturbance and their ongoing effects. A year ago, at our Mass for Pardon, we acknowledged and prayed for forgiveness for any "institutional racism" ever perpetrated in and by the Archdiocese of Detroit. Beyond southeast Michigan, recent events have demonstrated that the sin of racism still persists in our nation. I strongly support the creation of a committee by my brother bishops to address this sin — racism — and to work toward bringing the light of the Gospel to dispel this scourge from our society. I encourage my fellow Catholics, and all persons of good will, to join in efforts that uphold the dignity of each person in our society, no matter their race.

In a letter announcing the committee, USCCB President Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston said the committee will coordinate USCCB efforts to combat the sin of racism in a "thorough and ongoing manner."

Archbishop Vigneron has been vocal in his support of efforts to overcome the sin of racism in southeast Michigan. During the October 7, 2016 Mass for Pardon, he apologized for past sins of the Archdiocese of Detroit, including "institutionalized racism reflected by generations of neglect toward a people most victimized by violent crimes, infiltration of drugs in communities, redlining, and failed school systems."

In a pastoral letter issued earlier this year, Archbishop Vigneron called for a "radical overhaul of the Church in Detroit" to focus on better sharing the message of Jesus Christ. Included in this letter is a call to "build cultural competency among individuals, parishes and archdiocesan leadership to acknowledge and break down barriers that divide us — including race, ethnicity, sex and socioeconomic status."

The full statement from the USCCB is available here