The president of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, has issued the following statement on the observance of Martin Luther King Jr Day, which takes place next Monday, 15 January.
Cardinal DiNardo's full statement follows:
'In recent years - including last summer in Charlottesville - we have glimpsed an appalling truth that lurks beneath the surface of our culture. Even with all the progress our country has made on the issue, racism remains a living reality. As our nation celebrates the Reverend Dr Martin Luther King, Jr, we are given an important time to recommit ourselves to the Gospel message he preached, that the sin of racism can be defeated by active love and the light of faith.
Our challenge is to bring Dr King's message into the present moment in a way that inspires lasting change. In a pivotal 1958 essay, he wrote that: "Along the way of life, someone must have the sense enough and the morality enough to cut off the chain of hate. This can only be done by projecting the ethics of love to the centre of our lives."
Breaking the chain of hate requires both courage and commitment. Sr Mary Antona Ebo, a Franciscan Sister of Mary and the first African-American sister to march with Dr King in Selma, exemplified these qualities. She told those gathered that: "I'm here because I'm a Negro, a nun, a Catholic, and because I want to bear witness." Sister Antona passed away on November 11 last year at the age of 93. She remained a bold and dedicated champion of civil rights throughout her lifetime, and her witness should inspire our own.
We pray in confidence that Jesus Christ will remind us all that he is the most powerful means to break the chains of hate that still bind too many hearts, a truth which lies at the center of Dr. King's legacy.'
USCCB racism resources and information about the USCCB Ad Hoc Committee Against Racism can be found at: www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/racism/
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