The vast majority of Black Catholics say fighting racism and sexism is essential to their faith, yet the majority-white churches they often attend are failing to meet their needs, said speakers on a recent panel on Black Catholics' faith and religious practices.
"We [Black Catholics] believe on some level that the church needs us sometimes more than we need the church," said Fr. Bryan Massingale, professor of ethics and theology at Fordham University and author of Racial Justice and the Catholic Church, during the panel.
The discussion, "Black Churches, Black Catholics," was hosted by the Fordham University Center on Religion and Culture. Speakers analyzed the results of a nationally-representative survey of more than 8,600 Black adults published in February by the Pew Research Center.
The study, speakers said, is one of the most comprehensive such studies on Black faith and religion in the U.S., allowing researchers to dig into the nuanced beliefs and practices of those in smaller subgroups, including Black Catholics, who make up 6% of the Black population, according to the survey.
- The Pew Research Center study showed that Black Americans attend predominantly Black congregations, but a majority think such congregations should welcome people of other races.
When Fr. Min Seo Park, a deaf Catholic priest from South Korea, celebrated his first livestreamed Mass in American Sign Language, or ASL, on Feb. 6, over 800 viewers, many of them likely deaf themselves, tuned in on the Archdiocese of Washington's Special Needs Ministry YouTube channel, where videos feature a voice interpreter and captions for hearing viewers.
Before Park's January 2021 appointment as chaplain of both the Archdiocese of Washington's Deaf Ministries and Gallaudet University (a U.S. federally chartered private university for the deaf), these ASL-interpreted Masses attracted up to 95 viewers on its best day.
Watching a deaf priest sign the Mass in ASL brought the dispersed deaf community together online. The yearlong COVID-19 quarantine has kept many deaf individuals away from others who communicate in sign language, contributing to marginalization because of their language difference.
- Months after Hurricanes Eta and Iota hit Honduras, communities are still marked by devastation. Catholic sisters, despite their own destroyed properties and COVID-19, stand beside those struggling to rebuild their lives.
- If you missed our livestream Soul Seeing for Lent conversation with host Michael Leach and guest Natalia Imperatori-Lee, you can watch it here.
- Leaders at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops are discouraging Catholics from using the new Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine if given a choice, citing the use of cells with a distant link to abortion in the development of the vaccine.
- Members of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious have been challenged to address food insecurity, especially in activities integrated into the eighth annual Catholic Sisters Week, which runs March 8-14.