Monday, December 1, 2014


This is the title of one of the sections of a little read encyclical from the U.S. Bishops in 1979, “Brothers and Sisters To Us.”  As the controversy continues over the killing of black teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO, with a militarized police force and National Guard deployed against protesters, confusion taking the place of unbiased investigation, the only thing certain is that white society has a long long way to go before accepting black folk as true brothers and sisters.

 The chasm between the races – Ferguson MO example this summer

Around the turn of the last century, “a black person was killed in public every four days for often the most mundane of infractions, or rather accusation of infractions – for taking a hog, making boastful remarks, for stealing 75 cents. For the most banal of missteps, the penalty could be an hours-long spectacle of torture and lynching. No trial, no jury, no judge, no appeal. Now, well into a new century, as a family in Ferguson, Missouri, buries yet another American teenager killed at the hands of authorities, the rate of police killings of black Americans is nearly the same as the rate of lynchings in the early decades of the 20th century.
About twice a week, or every three or four days, an African American has been killed by a white police officer in the seven years ending in 2012, according to studies of the latest data compiled by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.”

This from our Pax Christi St. Louis statement says it well.

n light of the recent Grand Jury decision, we are disappointed and saddened because of the lack of clear accountability for the taking of a young man’s life.  We thoughtfully and prayerfully call for actions to end systemic racism and structural oppression, locally and nationally. The casual disregard for the lives of the poor, especially young black men, is a moral scandal.”  May we know the truth of this incident, and so many like it, and may it set us all free from these bonds.  May each and every American find new ways to examine our consciences, and banish the sin of racism from our nation’s soul.

Catholic Worker logo {in the early days} - by Rita Corbin

Some review of what’s known.
"Was Michael Brown surrendering or advancing to attack Officer Darren Wilson?" – Washington Post
Michael Brown's Legacy Continues to Evolve - ABC News
Sadly page 3 of the U.S. Bishops update states that evidence shows an increase of racist attitudes among Catholics in the 25 years since their encyclical “Brothers and Sisters To Us.” From 1979 to 2004.

Illumination by Kathy Brahney
Catholic Worker logo today

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