Cardinal Wuerl Issues Pastoral Letter on Racism

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Cardinal Donald Wuerl, archbishop of Washington released today, a pastoral letter,The Challenge of Racism Today, in which he calls for unity among all people to confront the “persistent evil of racism.”

“Tragically, the divisive force of this sin continues to be felt across our land and in our society. It is our faith that calls us to see each other as members of God’s family. It is our faith that calls us to confront and overcome racism. This challenge is rooted in our Christian identity as sisters and brothers, redeemed by the blood of Christ,” he says in his pastoral letter.

On his blog introducing the document, Cardinal Wuerl encourages all to read, reflect and share the letter with others. “It is my further hope that all of us in this archdiocesan Church might then join together in a renewed effort to confront what continues to be a grave evil and sin in our society, and to drive it and other intolerance out of our hearts, our lives and our community,” he says.

A pastoral letter is typically released by a bishop to mark a specific event in the Church or to highlight a significant issue in the Church or culture. “We are all aware of incidents both national and closer to home that call attention to the continuing racial tensions in our society,” Cardinal Wuerl notes in the letter. “In spite of numerous positive advances and the goodwill of many, many people, too many of our brothers and sisters continue to experience racism.”

Cardinal Wuerl indicates that the pastoral letter is not intended to be the final word, but rather, what he hopes is the start of robust dialogue that guides us toward reconciliation. Read the full pastoral letter in English andSpanish; read the story in the Catholic Standard.

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The Archdiocese of Washington is home to over 620,000 Catholics, 139 parishes and 93 Catholic schools, located in Washington, D.C., and five Maryland counties: Calvert, Charles, Montgomery, Prince George’s and St. Mary’s.