The Basilica of Saint Mary’s Initiative for Racial Reconciliation
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ . . . ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There are no commandments greater than these.” —Mark 12:30-31
“The problem of intolerance must be confronted in all its forms: wherever any minority is persecuted and marginalized because of its religious convictions or ethnic identity, the wellbeing of society as a whole is endangered and each one of us must feel affected.” —Pope Francis, Simon Wiesenthal Center, October 2013
“[A]ny kind of social or cultural discrimination in basic personal rights on the grounds of sex, race, color, social conditions, language or religion, must be curbed and eradicated as incompatible with God’s design.” —Gaudium et Spes, para. 29, 1965.
“Racism is not merely one sin among many; it is a radical evil that divides the human family and denies the new creation of a redeemed world. To struggle against it demands an equally radical transformation, in our own minds and hearts as well as in the structure of our society.” —Brothers and Sisters To Us, USCCB, 1979.
“The structures of our society are subtly racist, for these structures reflect the values which society upholds. They are geared to the success of the majority and the failure of the minority. Members of both groups give unwitting approval by accepting things as they are. Perhaps no single individual is to blame. The sinfulness is often anonymous but nonetheless real. The sin is social in nature in that each of us, in varying degrees, is responsible. All of us in some measure are accomplices. As our recent pastoral letter on moral values states: “The absence of personal fault for an evil does not absolve one of all responsibility. We must seek to resist and undo injustices we have not ceased, least we become bystanders who tacitly endorse evil and so share in guilt in it.” —Brothers and Sisters To Us, USCCB, 1979.
Because of our faith in a Trinitarian God—a God who exists in perfect communion as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and whose persons relate to one another perfectly without either domination or subordination—
Because of our faith in the incarnation—the belief that the Son of God took on human flesh and dwelt among us in the person of Jesus of Nazareth who recognized the inherent dignity of those he encountered who were different from himself, including Samaritans, the Syro-Phoenician woman, even the Romans who persecuted him—
And because we understand that all human beings are created in the imago Dei—in the very image of our Trinitarian God—
We, at The Basilica of Saint Mary, are committed to:
- living into the holiness of the Trinity in our lives, relating to one another without domination or subordination in our Church, in our city, and in our world;
- entering ever more deeply into the Body of Christ through which the just and peaceful community that Christ envisioned comes into being on earth;
- celebrating the many ways in which human beings, all of whom are created in the imago Dei, are distinct but not separate from one another.
We recognize that we can be unified without being uniform. We acknowledge differences among us without needing those differences to divide us. We treasure the reality that through our diverse languages, cultures, creeds, and colors, the entire human family is created in the image of God. We cherish that, in our diverse social life, we are able reflect to some degree the divine life of our God, the persons of the Trinity remaining always distinct from one another while also being unified in the singular divine Being.
Because of these core convictions, The Basilica of Saint Mary is dedicated to the eradication of racism, and seeks to become a community of racial reconciliation.
We will devote ourselves to this effort by praying for empowerment to overcome this radical evil in our lives and communities, by learning about institutionalized racism and its insidious presence in our Church and society, by engaging across lines of difference, and by advocating for social change. Opportunities for participation this year are listed below: