Bishop Braxton frames approach to talking about U.S. racial divide

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April 20, 2015

Illinois bishop talks about race relations in Georgetown University address

Bishop Edward K. Braxton of Belleville, Illinois, discusses race relations in an address at Georgetown University in Washington April 20. Bishop Braxton asked the American public to broaden their thinking about race and to try to better understand the everyday issues faced by nonwhites. (CNS photo/courtesy Georgetown University)

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Building a public address around his pastoral letter on the racial divide in the United States, Bishop Edward K. Braxton of Belleville, Illinois, asked his audience to imagine themselves in a world where the Catholic Church’s imagery and culture is Afro-centric.

In a program at Georgetown University April 20, Bishop Braxton framed challenges to the American public, and to Catholics in particular, to broaden their thinking about race to try to better understand the everyday issues faced by nonwhites.

As he did in his January pastoral letter: “The Racial Divide in the United States: A Reflection for the World Day of Peace 2015,” Bishop Braxton, who is African-American, asked people to think about how they’d feel if the Catholic churches in their neighborhoods featured images of saints and God that were all dark-skinned and African in features. Imagine that in those churches, he added, the reputation was of a “black racist institution” where people of light complexion would be unwelcome. He challenged people to consider how they’d feel about such a faith.

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