Archbishop of Detroit urges repentance from ‘the stain of many years of institutional racism’

Jun 18, 2018
For more information contact:
Holly Fournier,

New “pastoral note” on racism is first in series to be released in wake of year anniversary of landmark Unleash the Gospel

Archbishop of Detroit Allen H. Vigneron is urging metro Detroit’s Catholic faithful to repent from “the stain of many years of institutional racism,” in a new pastoral note called "Agents for the New Creation," penned one year after he unveiled his vision for the Church in southeast Michigan.

The message is the first in a series of pastoral notes to be released by the archbishop in the coming months. In the new pastoral notes, Archbishop Vigneron will further guide the Church in metro Detroit toward becoming the “joyful band of missionary disciples” he envisioned in Unleash the Gospel, his pastoral letter released at Pentecost 2017. Each note will examine a topic relevant to modern culture and society through the eyes of the pastoral letter.

The first note released Monday comes at the 75th anniversary of the civil unrest of 1943 in Detroit, which lasted from June 20-22, took the lives of 34 people, and injured over 400. In the note, Archbishop Vigneron proclaims the first step in any walk toward sainthood: repentance from sin, including “the stain of many years of institutional racism” on the part of Catholics and others throughout the country.

“Sadly, we are living the wounds of those many years of injustice in our local communities,” the archbishop said in his note. “For the sins of these Catholics past and present, I as your Archbishop am truly sorry.”

In addition to the pastoral note, the archbishop has provided a collection of resources for pastors and educators wishing to engage their communities in conversation, including audio, video and text of a homily addressing racism given by the archbishop earlier this year at a local parish.

Note to Media: Interviews are available with clergy and faithful, reacting to the archbishop’s renewed call to repent from the sin of racism:

  • Leon Dixon, Coordinator of Black Catholic Ministry
  • Msgr. Daniel Trapp, spiritual director at Sacred Heart Major Seminary and pastor of St. Augustine and St. Monica Parish.

For more information or to arrange interviews, please contact Holly Fournier, media relations manager, at (313) 237-5802 or fournier.holly