"We cannot tolerate or turn a blind eye to racism and exclusion in any form and yet claim to defend the sacredness of every human life."
Cardinal Dolan: Address systemic, institutional racism in the Archdiocese of New York
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NOTE: This is an abridged version of our original letter. The full text is available for you to read at this link: https://docs.google.com/document/d/18oMHfWKPg-fy2kPWFhDSVvNn7_gnWLT8o4j8PTBAZWg/edit?usp=sharing
NOTA: Para leer el texto completo, haz click aquí: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1ja24D2pFlP0qDbFdDe0hH9y_bg9pWL2MOiypY9ziBrM/edit?usp=sharing
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Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan
Archdiocese of New York
1011 First Avenue
New York, NY 10022
June 19, 2020
Dear Cardinal Dolan,
May God’s peace be with you. We write to you as a group of concerned Catholics in the Archdiocese of New York in response to your letter dated June 12, 2020 to the Archdiocese of New York.
We are deeply concerned that, in your letter of fourteen paragraphs, you mention racism and the protests catalyzed by the police killing of George Floyd in a few sentences confined to the twelfth paragraph, lower in priority than discussions about the Archdiocese’s “towering financial challenges.”
This moment in our nation’s history is one of immense import, requiring clerical leaders like yourself to take unequivocal, forceful stances to proclaim the sanctity and dignity of all human life: not just for unborn children, but equally for the marginalized and oppressed among us currently walking the earth.
We ask you to proclaim to the faithful under your pastoral care that it is our Black and brown brothers and sisters who are among the most marginalized in our society, who regularly experience the degradation of their dignity, disproportionately lose their lives due to the sins of racism and white privilege, and who must be defended and upheld with all the moral force and power that Jesus Christ’s teachings demand of us. We ask that you discern and act as Jesus would by taking concrete actions here in the Archdiocese of New York that will help to make our community more just:
1) Educate yourself by listening to the testimonies of marginalized parishioners and their experiences with systemic and institutionalized racism. Integrate their experiences into your own self-examination.
2) Speak boldly on these matters by always explicitly naming the sins of racism and white supremacy.
3) Lead the faithful in understanding systemic and institutional racism and white privilege; exhort them to investigate their consciences with regard to racist actions, perpetuation of white privilege, or silent complicity, which also is sinful.
4) Broker conversations about systemic and institutionalized racism between the NYPD and marginalized New Yorkers so that bridges may be built.
5) Shepherd the Archdiocese and its offices to more meaningfully acknowledge, understand, embrace and minister to the marginalized and less prominent members of your flock, specifically Black and brown Catholics, including by providing more intentional institutional support for the Office of Black Ministry.
6) Convene a standing committee to assess how the Archdiocese has fallen short in the past, what ways it continues to fail its parishioners of color, and develop a comprehensive plan to address institutional white privilege in the Archdiocese going forward.
7) Dedicate a meaningful percentage of the Archdiocese’s annual budget to incorporate anti-racism training as part of ongoing formation for all Archdiocesan staff, leadership, parish priests and seminarians, and parish staff and leaders.
We implore that you, our bishop, take these actions so that the New York Archdiocese of the Catholic Church does indeed live and proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ, aware of the local area and the world, the spiritual and the material, the present and the future.
Catholic Parishioners of the New York Archdiocese Demanding Racial Justice
(Add your signature to the letter by visiting this page: https://forms.gle/xmE7hBPU9BQaAZTP7)
CC: Archbishop Christophe Pierre, Apostolic Nuncio to the United States
Archbishop José Horacio Gómez, President, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops