Black Life Matters
Dear Sisters and Brothers,
Through Bishop Chuck Leigh, we have just received a letter from the following historically black churches: the African Methodist Episcopal Church, the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, and the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church. They "have agreed to ask the members of our respective denominations to wear black on Sunday, December 14, 2014, in solidarity with the message that 'Black Life Matters.'" They are asking us to stand in solidarity with them.
Recent events in my own city of St. Louis have forced open our old wounds of separation and inequity. Condoleezza Rice refers to the "birth defect" of the US, mal-forming our consciences, that the life of a black slave is worth less (3/5 or 40% less to be exact) than a free white. To roundly reject that discounting seems like a simple request for these churches to make of us-to stand up and say, "Black Life Matters."
Please consider encouraging each other to wear black to our churches this weekend. I'm sorry that we did not get this message earlier. Please do what you can to spread the word.
Final Paper to the NCC
From: Fr. David Gerardot and Deacon John Boylan
The Ecumenical Catholic Communion:
A Theological Predisposition on Mass Incarceration
We of the Ecumenical Catholic Communion (ECC) unabashedly embrace our God-given Prophetic Voice. We advocate, most especially, on behalf of the poor and the marginalized. Such are the incarcerated. Presently, the issue of "Mass Incarceration" is before us. In addressing this issue, we bring to bear, as part of our discernment, the traditional lens of the Church's social teaching. This includes giving primary consideration to the following principles: 1) the Dignity of the Human Person, 2) the Community and the Common Good, 3) the Preferential Option for the Poor, and 4) Subsidiarity.
The Dignity of the Human Person The Gospel stance must necessarily summon the courage, the perseverance, and the love to see the "other", the one who has harmed the community, as still being a part of the community that seeks to remain humane, compassionate, and just. The strictly power stance seeks punishment for its own sake. The Gospel stance seeks reconciliation and healing, often under very difficult and complex circumstances. Indeed, some (including those who have caused harm) may not desire reconciliation and healing and will resist it.
We of the Ecumenical Catholic Communion (ECC) believe that we as human beings are far more than the worse thing any of us has ever done. We hold that there is a transcendent Goodness within each person, a Divine Presence. From this, we derive the aforementioned principle of the Dignity of the Human Person. Incarceration without genuine opportunities for healing and reconciliation makes a mockery of this understanding.