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Archives: September 2020
Pope Francis recently stated, “We cannot tolerate or turn a blind eye to racism and exclusion in any form and yet claim to defend the sacredness of human life.” I was struck by this black page when opening my summer Basilica Magazine, acknowledging that while the content was developed before May 25, the commitment was not lost. Some say the world changed after George Floyd died, while others rightfully say more are waking up and coming along.
To defend human life means recognizing and changing the circumstances for the most vulnerable. In this case, our neighbors for whom structural inequity and the historical preservation of white prosperity have kept down. For example, redlining—preventing Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) communities from owning homes wherever they choose—and a mounting education debt—opportunity gaps compounding over time to produce consistent achievement outcomes—protect and propel our white neighbors.
We can view Catholic Social Teaching’s seven pillars through an anti-racist lens. How are we preserving the life and dignity of human persons who are BIPOC? How do our BIPOC neighbors fully participate in our families and communities? To what extent are white neighbors exercising their responsibilities to defend BIPOC rights? How are white brothers and sisters tending to poor and vulnerable BIPOC communities? How are those with power preserving the dignity of work and rights of BIPOC workers? How are white neighbors standing in solidarity with BIPOC neighbors? How are white communities caring for BIPOC creation, whether life or the environment in which they live?
Here at The Basilica, various programs and changes have put our community on the path toward anti-racism. This Lenten season, The Basilica partnered with the University of St. Thomas on an educational series called “Becoming Human: Dismantling Racism.” The guiding theory is that the racial history we all inherit is dehumanizing for all of us. The only way to “become human” is to confront the legacy of white supremacy and undergo a process of transformation to engage more humanely in the world, especially across the color line. Look up the recordings here.
Beyond this, The Basilica secured a partnership with the Penumbra Theatre through educational workshops and ongoing support. Some of the work involved an immersive analysis of the ways The Basilica perpetuates or disrupts racism through its ministries and services. A core leadership team is developing to continue this ever-present work. Look for ways to get involved in this work over the coming year.
The founding of this country involved kidnapping and enslaving Africans and committing genocide against the Indigenous to steal their land. It can be overwhelming to reconcile with this history and our unconscious, perpetuating (in)actions. But acknowledging it and finding a place to work against it in our community is our calling as God’s children.
Parish Council, Vice Chair
The Basilica of Saint Mary
Featuring the Cathedral Choristers of The Basilica of Saint Mary under the direction of Teri Larson.
Children of Light (24-96850)
Music by Valerie Ann Webdell
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