August 3, 2012

Black Catholic groups affirm liberating power of the Gospel in the African-American community

Criterion staff report

In a joint statement issued for the National Black Catholic Congress XI on July 19-21 in Indianapolis, four African-American organizations noted that “the Church, in its diversity, reflects God’s Trinitarian life,” and must embrace “the liberating power of the Gospel in the African-American community.”

The National Black Catholic Clergy Caucus (NBCCC), National Black Sisters’ Conference (NBSC), National Association of Black Catholic Deacons and Spouses (NABCD) and National Association of Black Catholic Administrators (NABCA) stated that, “We believe that the [U.S.] Church in her newness is evolving. It is browner and poorer, more feminine, more collegial, more concerned about charity and justice, more multilingual and polycentric.

“What we have seen and heard, we are now called in faith to speak in love and truth,” the statement noted. “As a people of sojourn, we have fought to be Catholic. However, in the Catholic Church, at this moment, we are gravely concerned about the abandonment and survival of the black community. Yet, God trusts us to do what we must for the greater good.”

The organizations encouraged the Church to:

  • “remain present and committed to bearing witness to the liberating power of the Gospel in the African-American community,”
  • “keep open diocesan offices for black Catholic ministry and ongoing faith formation,”
  • “keep open Catholic schools in the black community to educate and to foster the new evangelization,”
  • “renew and strengthen the Church’s commitment to encourage and nurture African-American vocations to the ordained, consecrated and lay ecclesial ministerial life of the Church.”

The statement also noted that “the social teachings of the Catholic Church compel and empower us to embrace this prophetic moment. We challenge ourselves and the other members of the Church to listen to those voices that for too long have been excluded and silenced.” †

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