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Md.’s Catholic Bishops Vow to Be at Forefront of Fight for Racial Justice

Maryland’s Catholic leaders on Monday said they want “to place ourselves at the forefront of efforts to remove the inequalities and discrimination that are still present in Maryland and our nation today.”

In a letter addressed to “Brothers and Sisters in Christ,” the Bishops of the three Archdiocese that serve Maryland acknowledged the Catholic church’s role in preserving segregated institutions through the years — both in the state and nationally. But they also noted that Catholic leaders and educators in Maryland have been at the forefront of integration efforts in schools and communities.

“This history provides the context for us today and should act to animate our prayers, thoughts and actions for an end, finally, to the sin of racism that remains with us and in us,” the church leaders wrote. “The unjust killing of George Floyd and other Black Americans, and the subsequent protests, rallies and vigils that continue to take place make it clear that the conscience of our nation is on trial as questions of race and equality confront each and every one of us.”

The Bishops praised the prayers and conversations of their parishioners to end racism and bring about a more just society. “However, prayer and dialogue, alone, are not enough.”

The Catholic leaders vowed to be at the forefront of debates over fairness and inclusion in Maryland.

“This includes access to health and maternal care, meaningful educational opportunities, prison reforms, restorative justice initiatives, housing anti-discrimination efforts, juvenile justice reforms, and ending the grossly disparate practice of capital punishment,” they wrote. “We commend the efforts of our state lawmakers to convene working groups to discuss legislative initiatives that are needed for reform, transparency, and racial equality. We look forward to playing an active part in these conversations on both a state and national level, and to lending our voices to those whose own have been stifled or altogether silenced by those who seek to quiet them.”

The letter was signed by Archbishop William E. Lori, Archbishop of Baltimore; the Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory,
Archbishop of Washington; Bishop Rev. W. Francis Malooly
Bishop of Wilmington; the Rev. Roy E. Campbell Jr.,
Auxiliary Bishop of Washington; the Rev. Mario E. Dorsonville-Rodriguez, Auxiliary Bishop of Washington; the Rev. Michael W. Fisher, Auxiliary Bishop of Washington; the Rev. Adam J. Parker, Auxiliary Bishop of Baltimore; the Rev. Denis J. Madden, Auxiliary Bishop Emeritus of Baltimore; and Bishop-designate Bruce Lewandowski, Auxiliary Bishop-designate of Baltimore.

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Md.’s Catholic Bishops Vow to Be at Forefront of Fight for Racial Justice