Corpus Christi

“Dear brothers and sisters in the United States, I have witnessed with great concern the disturbing social unrest in your nation in these past days, following the tragic death of Mr. George Floyd. My friends, we cannot tolerate or turn a blind eye to racism and exclusion in any form and yet claim to defend the sacredness of every human life. At the same time, we have to recognize that the violence of recent nights is self-destructive and self-defeating. Nothing is gained by violence and so much is lost.”

                                 — Pope Francis 

FROM YOUR PASTOR

The tragic events of the last several weeks have put into POIGNANT CLARITY FOR ME the principles of Catholic Social Doctrine, the Principles of Our Founding Fathers in Liberty and Justice for All, and the Principles of Inclusion and Equality that should  FORM OUR CONSCIENCE and GUIDE OUR ACTIONS as Intentional Disciples of Jesus Christ.

The Preaching, Teaching, Healing, and Raising from the Dead of Jesus Christ was not based on the color of one’s skin or the country of one’s origin. It was based on one’s Faith in God, one’s Hope of Salvation, and one’s Love of Others.  Jesus sent his Apostles and Disciples to the Ends of the Earth to share the Word of God. JESUS WAS NOT A RACIST…HE EXCLUDED NO ONE. As His Brother, NEITHER SHOULD I.

And often unused Form of Contrition in the Catholic  Church is a General Confession. It involves looking at one’s life and our Sins Against God and Sins Against Others. Perhaps in this tragic time it is important for each of us to MAKE A GENERAL CONFESSION  as it relates to the SIN OF RACISM IN OUR LIFE. 

This Examination of Conscience for the Sin of Racism can be performed for each chapter of Your Life. For me, it would cover Five Chapters: 

>Chapter 1. In my Schools, how did I treat my fellow Black students at Newlon Elementary School,  Perry School, Presentation of Our Lady School, Regis High  School,  the Colorado School of Mines, and the Kennedy School at Harvard? Was I MEAN, INSENSITIVE, WILLFULLY HURTFUL, or INTENTIONALLY DISCRIMINATING? Did I Ridicule or Race-Bait? Did I SEE OTHERS do this and NOT CHALLENGE THEM?

>Chapter 2.  In my 35 year Professional Career, how did I treat Black candidates for jobs, the Black members of my staff, the inclusion of Black members on Boards and Commissions, and the effects of public policy decisions and actions on the Black Community? Were  MY PROFESSIONAL ACTIONS RACIALLY FAIR? Did my Staff and Boards reflect the Diversity of the Population which I Served?

>Chapter 3. In my Community and Social Life, did I PAY ATTENTION TO THE NEEDS OF and PROVIDE SERVICES TO the Black Community in the programs and outreach of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Colorado, The Salvation Army, Serra Colorado and Serra USA, and my Parish Council work at Mother of God Church? Does my circle of friends REFLECT THE DIVERSITY of the communities — School, Social Organizations, Church Community, Neighborhood, and Social Events — from which MY FRIENDS are drawn? Do I SUPPORT OR BELONG to organizations that discriminate or have racist undertones? Am I a person who INCLUDES OR EXCLUDES?

> Chapter 4. In my life as a Seminarian and a Catholic Priest in the twelve parishes and missions in Massachusetts and Colorado over the last 10 years, did my Initiatives TRANSCEND RACE AND ETHNICITY? Did my Liturgies include CULTURAL REFERENCES and Prayers for an END TO RACISM AND INEQUALITY? Do I ALLOCATE MY TIME EQUALLY TO ALL regardless of their Religion, the Color of their Skin, or their Political Ideology? Have I included PEOPLE OF COLOR in the PLANNING, ORGANIZING, AND IMPLEMENTATION of Parish Councils, Parish Programs, and Parish Events?

>Chapter 5. Have I used my personal Time, Talent, and Treasure to support those Organizations and Activities that BUILD OR DIVIDE? Have my actions OPENED OR HEALED a Core Wound? Am I a Racial Pharisee, or do I Really Believe that WHAT I SAY AND DO MATTERS?

In all My Chapters, did I follow the Politics of Inclusion or Exclusion. And equally important, have I hurt anyone through Sins of Commission or Omission? Were any actions in these Chapters RACIALLY MOTIVATED?

While My Life is given as the example, the narrative is designed to provide a template to EXAMINE YOUR CONSCIENCE and MAKE A GENERAL CONFESSION  of those areas of Implicit or Explicit Racism in all aspects of Your Life. 

God-created everyone for one purpose — to spend Eternal Life with Him. God-created a Diverse World of Nationalities, Diverse Colors of Skin, Diverse Forms of Governments,  and Diverse Cultures — that often may not look like our own Personal World. 

GOD CREATED THE CATHOLIC CHURCH TO SERVE THE ENTIRE WORLD…UNCONDITIONALLY AND WITHOUT RESERVATION. YOU AND I ARE THAT CHURCH!

At its core is the First Principle of Catholic Social Doctrine – – the Dignity of the Human Being…A DIGNITY FREE OF RACISM. The Principles of Catholic Social Doctrine REFLECT DIVERSITY…and REJECT RACISM.

In Confession,  we talk about RESTITUTION. That can take many forms…Compensation for the Past, a Change of Practice in the Present, and a Way of Life in the Future…with a Universal Core that has One Color…LOVE.

For anyone reading this Reflection, who was part of one of My Chapters, and whom I have racially offended, dismissed, or diminished…I APOLOGIZE. 

MY RESTITUTION will be reflected not in Rewriting My Past, but in serving ALL THE PEOPLE that God has placed in my care in My Present with Respect, Inclusion, Compassion, Understanding, and LOVE…by RESETTING THOSE ASPECTS OF MY LIFE that are NOT IN BALANCE.

A NATIONAL CONSCIENCE is formed through the COLLECTION OF INDIVIDUAL RESPONSES…You And Me. And if we multiply that by the Population of Denver, the Population of Colorado, or the Population of the United States, we have a NATION in which GEORGE FLOYD DID NOT DIE IN VAIN…AND BLACK LIVES DO MATTER…not just in print…but in MY THOUGHT, WORD, AND DEED.

Servant of God Julia Greeley, Pray for Us!

+May God Bless You and Keep You+