Facing the social sin of racism - together
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The Passionist Family Reflects on Racial Justice, Part 2

In the last issue of our newsletter, we featured voices from the Passionist Family on the sin of racism.

The response to that issue has been almost entirely positive and supportive.  Several people admitted they really had not given the issues of systemic racism enough thought. Many want to "do something."  More said they haven't felt comfortable talking about these things in their communities or families.  This is not a surprise.  Most of us don't have to face these issues as directly as our black and brown brother, sisters, and siblings. Those of us who are white have the privilege of turning away if it seems too much.

Others of us grapple with our conscience and pray for the grace of deeper understanding, empathy and opening of our hearts.

We asked some of the contributors to that newsletter about reactions they have received from their articles or further thoughts they want to add.

Please see the special  invitation below to participate in an emerging conversation for the Passionist Family about race and racial justice.
Rethinking Public Safety

Lissa Rommel wrote in the last newsletter about viewing racism and her role as an anti-racist through the lens of her interactions with her Black sons.  The article The Kingdom is at Hand was challenging.  She follows up with another story, from the same perspective, but delving into some of the challenges of defining "community safety" for her sons and for all of us.  After a recent event, she asks, can we think of ourselves in tough situation where we have to choose whether to call the police or 911?

Read Lissa's new story, Rethinking Public Safety.   Lissa is a member of the Passionist Solidarity Network Advisory Board.

Image Credit: Micah Bazant
The Racism of Catholics

Another piece featured in the previous newsletter was from Jim Wayne, a former Kentucky State Representative and a member of the PSN Advisory Board.  It originally appeared in the July 6 issue of the Louisville Courier-Journal (linked above). The article described the racism of white Catholics in the 1950’s and 1960’s in Louisville’s heavily white, Catholic West End.
In this follow-up, Jim describes some of the reactions he received from readers:  
  • "One irate reader of my essay responded “…I find your opinion piece offensive and quite erroneous,” concluding that I “…attack everything that people hold dear, your piece promotes division and hatred.”
  • Another wrote, “…I hope that your article does not mislead people, and, my worst fear, that it will incited some extremists to go on a rampage against all Catholic churches in Louisville.”
  • Still another, so angry, said I was not a real Catholic."
Read Jim's followup piece here, The Racism of Catholics:  The Urgency of Now

(CNS photo/The Catholic Standard/Jaclyn Lippelmann)
Poetry and Racism

We present a fascinating essay from Passionist Nicholas Postlethwaite from Britain exploring the importance of always making connections with impacted communities in the work of seeking racial justice. He reflects on the work of his Passionist Family in solidarity with people of color led efforts on the ground. He writes, of these efforts, "none of these singly and alone will eradicate racism.  But if a world-wide solidarity continues to grow – if creative fresh educational good practice is the new normal – perhaps then a process of imaginative poetry in action will begin to bring positive outcomes.

In the essay, he eloquently describes the connection:  "And when poetry can fly beyond the confines of mere words written on paper and become a living  expression  of courage unflinchingly facing massed ranks of evil racist forces “…taking the knee..” - then as never before it may be legitimate poetically to connect human souls standing strong and tall in stark contrast with the evil that is racism."

Read Poetry and Racism here
More information:
Reflective Voting Guide on Issues of Racism, Migration, and Climate

The justice and peace promoters from 11 women’s religious congregations in Michigan and Indiana have developed a new reflective voting guide for the 2020 election season. The sisters began with and embraced the resolution from the 2019 National Assembly of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, resulting in the creation of “A Reflective Voting Guide: Creating Communion at the Intersection of Racism, Migration, and Climate Crisis.”

The guide contains three study modules on the issues of racism, migration, and climate crisis for reflection to help prepare the reader for the November elections. Each module has a section on Experience of people affected by the issue, Values of the issue in light of Catholic Social Teachings, and a Call for Action.

A disclaimer notes that the guide "does not contain all the questions to be asked. Nor does it recommend any candidate for office" yet it gently calls readers to participate fully and effectively in the political process of our nation by voting. You are invited to download and read the Reflective Voting Guide by clicking here.

Thanks to Franciscan Action Network

The Season of Creation, a month set aside by Pope Francis is a time to renew our relationship with our Creator and all creation through repenting, repairing, and rejoicing together. During the Season of Creation, we join our sisters and brothers in the ecumenical family in prayer and action for our common home.

This year, amid crises that have shaken our world, we’re awakened to the urgent need to heal our relationships with creation and each other. During the season this year, we enter a time of restoration and hope, a jubilee for our Earth, that requires radically new ways of living with creation.

The Season of Creation unites the world’s 2.2 billion Christians around one shared purpose. With so much injustice all around us, now is the time for Christians everywhere to come together and show the world how to love each other and creation.

The Season of Creation website has a plethora of materials for creating partnerships, finding resources, leading community activities and preparing for the year-long work of justice for our planet and all her people.

Also find additional resources in the Season of Creation Catholic Liturgical Guide, by James E. Hug, S.J.

Laudato Si' Corner

"Humanity still has the ability to work together in building our common home. Here I want to recognize, encourage and thank all those striving in countless ways to guarantee the protection of the home which we share" (paragraph 13)

Pope Francis gives appreciations for the many millions who work hard every day to show real care and love for our home.  Some of them, as part of their life's work and others as their passion and calling.  Some of them have lost their lives for this work. 

The Challenge:  
  • Have you been called to "do something" to connect the dots in your own life with Pope Francis' strong advocacy in Laudato Si'?
  • Who could you thank in some way for their commitment?
Learn about these protectors of the environment:
How is your community holding up in response to the pandemic?  How are you staying safe and healthy? What unique challenges are facing you? What are you finding you can do to support your surrounding communities? What is inspiring you in these times that effects the entire Passionist Family and our world so much?  Contact me, David Horvath, and share your experiences.  My email is
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