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Why Catholic? Meet Bishop Nelson J. Perez

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Bishop Perez affirms USCCB position on racism

News of the Diocese

November 14, 2018

A statement from Bishop Perez on the pastoral letter on racism, ?Open Wide Our Hearts: The Enduring Call to Love,? approved today by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

One of the joys of being a priest or bishop is that of celebrating the great feast of the Eucharist with God?s faithful. On any given Sunday, I look out from the altar of our Lord and see a glimpse of the face of the world. I see the faithful followers of Christ joined together -- women and men, young and old -- from so many ethnic heritages and cultural traditions. As we adore and worship our Lord together, we can point to this unity as a sign of the power of grace to bring people together, a power so very connected to the graces associated with our Lord Christ Jesus. Through his cross and resurrection, our Lord has reunited both the relationship between humanity and our creator and those divisions between brothers and sisters of the human race.
Although Christ?s victory over sin is complete, we still live in a world affected by it. We see the effects of sin every day in news accounts, social media outlets and even in our own actions. One sin that has continued to fight directly against the unity fostered by Christ?s sacrifice is the persistent evil of racism. Despite many promising strides made in our nation, the ugly sin of racism still infects people?s hearts. It is visible in words and actions, and in organizations and policies. Moved by the Holy Spirit, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops issued a new pastoral letter, "Open Wide Our Hearts: The Enduring Call to Love," that addresses the issue of racism. It is a letter that is rooted in the clear message of Micah 6:8, which calls on the faithful ?to act justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.? This letter will move us to reflect on the recent social concerns that have arisen from the increase of racial language in American society, public discourse and social media and how these expressions have affected our institutions and public policies. The letter also includes timely practical suggestions on how to assist pastors, educators and families in confronting racism.

The injustice and harm racism causes is an attack on human life. As a Church, we have spoken out consistently against abortion, euthanasia and other forms of violence that threaten human life. In a particular way, the Church states that racism is also a life issue. Accordingly, we will not cease to speak against and work towards ending racism. Together with my brother bishops, we offer our resolve to work for social justice and racial harmony. As a community of faith, may we all keep our eyes fixed on the Scriptural vision of the final destiny of the human family -- namely, that ?great multitude, which no one could count, from every nation, race, people and tongue [standing] before the throne of the Lamb.? (Rev. 7:9)

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