Dear Editor: I’m writing to congratulate the author of this article, Marie Elena Giossi, on her superb reporting on the article “Inclusion Is A Concern at Listening Session On Race.”
I met Mrs. Giossi prior to the session. She asked if I was a member of the church. My reply was,” I am not a member of St. Clare and I am not a Catholic.”
We continued to dialogue on the subject of racism and I told her that I am a Protestant, a member of the African Methodist Episcopal Church. I told her that ironically, the African Methodist Episcopal Church was started because of racism towards Blacks in the Methodist. Seeing that Mrs. Giossi showed an interest on the subject, I directed her to research Bishop Richard Allen, our founder, and the AME Church on the Internet to learn our history.
As a teenager, I was a member the Brooklyn Ecumenical Council. In our group we had representation from all races and religious persuasions. We dealt with all facets of racism. That was over sixty years ago. Attending this seminar it seemed as though racism took a few steps backwards instead of going forward. Attending this seminar was a real eye opener. I do not have a working knowledge of the Catholic Church. The session allowed the parishioners to express publicly their negative experiences and frustrations. I thank God that their faith allowed them to persevere and hold on to their religion.
It is appalling to know that racism is still so prevalent in the Catholic Church. To know that disciples of Jesus Christ are enacting in adverse teachings of Jesus Christ is upsetting. The Preamble to the Declaration of Independence indicated “We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Despite this Declaration, there are many leaders that do not abide by the teaching of a monotheist religion. thus the theology of one God for all people is not exercised. Unless diversity training is given and employed to the leaders of the church, change will not pervade in the Catholic Church. Although I am not a member of the Catholic Church, I pray for change.
MARILYN E. ODOL