Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Bishop Cupich reminds Catholics that racism is 'evil'

Voters should remember that racism, like abortion, is considered an "intrinsic evil" by the Catholic Church, the bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Rapid City said recently in a national magazine.

Bishop Blase Cupich penned an essay titled "Racism and the Election" for the Oct. 27 edition of America, the oldest national Catholic weekly publication in the U.S.

In light of media reports of race-based voting in the upcoming presidential election, Cupich warned Catholics and all Americans that racism is a sin.

Voting against an African-American candidate solely because of race is sinful, as is voting for a pro-choice candidate solely because of his or her position on abortion rights, he said.

"The promotion neither of abortion nor racism can ever be a motivation for one's vote. Voting for a candidate solely because of that candidate's support for abortion or against him or her solely on the basis of his or her race is to promote an intrinsic evil. To do so consciously is indeed sinful," Cupich wrote.

With election day just one week away, Cupich's article never mentions Sen. Barack Obama by name. But it points out that, whatever the outcome of this historic presidential election featuring the first African-American candidate, "America has crossed another threshold in healing the wounds that racism has inflicted on our nation's body politic ...." But, Cupich warns, "this potentially healing moment could turn into the infliction of one more wound if racism appears to determine the outcome."

Bishop Lorenzo Kelly, an African-American pastor in Rapid City, said he worries about racism rearing its head in this election and shares Cupich's sentiments.

"Amen, amen, amen," Kelly said Monday. "I applaud him for being bold enough to speak up."

No one has been bold enough to tell Kelly point blank that they won't vote for Obama based on his race, but he is certain that will happen in many places, including Rapid City.

"Some of my friends were excited about Barack when he gave his first speech, but as soon as he became a serious contender, all of the sudden they were afraid of him. What is the fear?" Kelly says.

Racism, he says, answering his own question.

"It worries me that people are afraid to vote for him because he's a black man. It's hateful, but racism is very much alive, in the church, and in our nation. I know it is."

Calling racism America's own "original sin," Cupich recounted some of the Catholic Church's own struggles with racism during the school desegregation and civil rights era of the 1960s. It was not until its 1979 statement, "Brothers and Sisters to Us," that the USCCB labeled racism a sin and a violation of the Catholic belief in the fundamental equality of all human beings.

"The church has to walk out of this. The church needs to say this," Kelly said. "How do we talk about Christ's love, if Christians are afraid to have a black man as their president?"

The entire text of Cupich's essay is available at

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Sotto Voce

(Source: RCJ)

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