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African-American bishop reflects on Black Lives Matter

August 09, 2016

Bishop Edward Braxton of Belleville, Illinois, said that the Church in the United States has historically been slow in addressing race-related issues such as those raised recently by the Black Lives Matter movement.

“Sadly, I know many African-American Catholics who do not believe that their black lives matter in the Catholic Church as much as white lives matter,” the African-American bishop said on August 8. A “lack of a history of dialogue underscores the difficulties that the Church faces today when it attempts to evangelize the African-American community.”

In a recent column, Bishop Braxton emphasized that it “is necessary to acknowledge the legitimacy of the particular concern for the lives of People of Color. This is not something all Americans recognize.”

He added:

“Black Lives Matter” should not be silent about the significant number of young African-American males who die at the hands of other African-Americans, or the alarmingly high number of abortions that bring abrupt ends to nascent Black lives that matter. There also must be a repudiation of any form of violence against White people, specifically, police officers. Ultimately, there must be at least a tacit recognition that there are other vulnerable, marginalized groups in the country whose lives also matter.
 
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  • Posted by: Randal Mandock - Aug. 10, 2016 5:20 PM ET USA

    "...if you do not correct it, you commit a grave sin...Many who were held captives by the pagans are then sold in your regions and, after having been purchased by your compatriots, are held under the yoke of slavery....We therefore exhort and command you with paternal love that, if you have purchased any captives from them, you allow them to go free for the salvation of your soul." Pope John VIII, September 873, from the letter "Unum est" to the princes of Sardinia (DH 668).

  • Posted by: kirrwed - Aug. 10, 2016 3:05 PM ET USA

    The Church has been on a faster curve that the U.S. on slavery. For example: We will that like sentence of excommunication be incurred by one and all who attempt to capture, sell, or subject to slavery, baptized residents of the Canary Islands... (Sicut Dudum, Pope Eugene IV Against the Enslaving of Black Natives from the Canary Islands, January 13, 1435)

  • Posted by: unum - Aug. 10, 2016 11:50 AM ET USA

    I commend Bishop Edward Braxton for his phrasing of his "Black Lives Matter" message and his realization that all lives matter as he calls for the repudiation of violence.