Meek Toward All Races

Racism has been polarizing our country unnecessarily because all lives matter to us as children of God! As the Catechism of the Catholic Church says so forcefully:

Created in the image of the one God and equally endowed with rational souls, all men have the same nature and the same origin. Redeemed by the sacrifice of Christ, all are called to participate in the same divine beatitude: all therefore enjoy an equal dignity (CCC 1934).

The equality of men rests essentially on their dignity as persons and the rights that flow from it: Every form of social or cultural discrimination in fundamental personal rights on the grounds of sex, race, color, social conditions, language, or religion must be curbed and eradicated as incompatible with God’s design (CCC 1935, quoting Vatican II, Gaudium et Spes).

Racial prejudice provokes ill will and hatred in those who are being discriminated against. As each person is created with the full dignity as a child of God conferring an essential equality among men. Prejudice communicates the wrong and hateful message that the discriminated against is less of a person than the discriminator.

The media glorifies some who use anti-racism to promote transgender, radical feminism, and an anti-Christian agenda. Let’s recall Pope Francis’ words:

Bad news fills the pages of newspapers, websites, and television screens, to the point that evil seems to reign supreme. But that is not the case. To be sure, malice and violence, abuse and corruption abound, but life is interwoven too with acts of respect and generosity that not only compensate for evil but inspire us to take an extra step and fill our hearts with hope (Message for the World Day for the Poor, November 15, 2020).

All lives matter to us as God’s children. So let’s say it, mean it, and live it out.

When a school is racially mixed—as ours is—the kids treat each other with great simplicity and “color-blindness”: kids don’t notice skin color as they all become friends. Isn’t this the secret to overcoming racism, to have this childlike approach to friendship and relationships? This is what we believe:

As a spiritual being, the human creature is defined through interpersonal relations. The more authentically he or she lives these relations, the more his or her own personal identity matures. It is not by isolation that man establishes his worth, but by placing himself in relation with others and with God (Pope Benedict XVI, Caritas in Veritate, 53).

Healthy relations lead to true maturity in our own self-worth and personal identity, valuing the true dignity of each person. We also see this in the interracial marriages of our church—how they enrich our spiritual family and express the mature personal identity of each child of God.

Only love of God will overcome racism. Let’s not just condemn racial discrimination as another form of sin, but let us fulfill our call to love our brothers and sisters in Christ, and defend their rights and dignity whenever someone humiliates, ridicules, discriminates, or treats unfairly the image of Christ in another.

Also, let us acknowledge our own failings, whether it has been a direct offense against a child of God based on sex, race, color, social condition, language, or even religion. Perhaps we need to acknowledge some past indifference or passivity to the structures of sin that have perpetuated racism, turning a blind eye to someone else’s sin or injustice in the workplace.

Almost without being aware of it, we end up being incapable of feeling compassion at the outcry of the poor, weeping for other people’s pain, and feeling a need to help them, as though all this were someone else’s responsibility and not our own (Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium, 54).

Only by confessing our sin and repairing our unjust behavior are we going to make progress toward peace and true prosperity.

Father John Waiss is the pastor of St. Mary of the Angels Church in Chicago, Illinois. He is also a member of Opus Dei, the prelature founded by St. Josemaria Escriva.