Collection of Statements and Responses from the Active Black Catholic Bishops of the United States on the Death of George Floyd, the Recent Racial Issues, and the National Protests (As of June 8, 2020)
In a country of 265 active Roman Catholic bishops only 6 are African American.
- Auxiliary Bishop Roy Edward Campbell, Jr.
- Auxiliary Bishop Fernand Cheri III, OFM
- Bishop Shelton Fabre
- Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory
- Bishop Curtis Guillory, SVD
- Auxiliary Bishop Joseph N. Perry
All 6 have released responses in some form to the killing of George Floyd, the recent spotlight being placed upon America’s unsettled racial issues, and the relentless protests taking place all over the nation at the current time. The following is a collection of their responses along with the response of Black Catholic clergy in general in the statement from the National Black Catholic Clergy Caucus. The list of both active and nonactive Black bishops in the U.S. can be found at the site of the National Black Catholic Congress, but their page needs to be updated to account for the retirement of Bishop Edward K. Braxton of Bellevue earlier this year and the recent death of Bishop George V. Murry, SJ of the Diocese of Saint Thomas in the Virgin Islands.
I post these statements without commentary on my part except for the following: I feel that it is important to compile all these statements together so Black members of the Church along with Black people outside of the Church can see the response from Black Catholic leadership particularly from the Black episcopate. For now I leave the evaluation of the effectiveness and usefulness of such statements being released during our current spate of issues to all of you, especially my fellow Black Catholics in the Church.
Statement from Most Reverend Curtis Guillory, SVD, Bishop of the Diocese of Beaumont released on May 29, 2020.
Links to statement: Beaumont Enterprise, PDF
Statement from Most Reverend Shelton J. Fabre, Bishop of the Diocese Houma-Thibodaux and chairman of the Ad Hoc Committee Against Racism of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) released on May 29, 2020.
Video version of Bishop Fabre’s statement
Links to statement: USCCB, USCCB-YouTube
Statement from Most Reverend Wilton Gregory, Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C. released on May 31, 2020.
Link to Statement: Archdiocese of Washington, D.C.
Written and Recorded Reflections on George Floyd from Most Reverent Joseph N. Perry, Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Chicago.
Bishop Perry’s written reflection:
Bishop Perry’s recorded reflection during an interview with Anna Davlantes on WGN Radio 720, posted on June 1, 2020.
Link to written reflection: Archdiocese of Chicago, Black Catholic Initiative
Statement from Most Reverend Roy Edward Campbell, Jr., Auxiliary Bishop of Washington, D.C. and President of the National Black Catholic Congress (NBCC) released on June 3, 2020.
Link to the statement: NBCC-Facebook
A Statement on Current Events from The National Black Catholic Clergy Caucus
Link to statement: Archdiocese of Chicago, Black Catholic Initiative
Requiem for Black Children of God prayer service created by Most Reverend Fernand Cheri III, OFM, Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of New Orleans held on June 5, 2020.
Bishop Cheri’s response here went a different route. Instead of a formal statement or reflection like most bishop both Black and non-Black he crafted an entire prayer service intended to commemorate all Black lives lost to police brutality and pray for change.
“In response to the racial tensions stemming from the death of George Floyd and similar racially charged acts of violence in the nation, Archbishop Gregory Aymond will preside over a prayer service and peaceful march . . . The prayer service, titled Requiem for the Black Children of God will memorialize and pray for those who have died, for peace in our communities, and for an end to racial injustices.”From the Archdiocese of New Orleans.
Clarion Herald video on Requiem service
Links to Requiem service: Clarion Herald video on service, Clarion Herald photos of service, WVUF FOX 8 News-Facebook footage of service, Pax Christi USA PDF
Fair Use Disclaimer: All posted under Fair Use for the purposes of free public information, reporting, education, and commentary in accordance with U.S. Copyright Law, Title 17, Section 107. Each statement/response above were all released for public viewing by their respective organizations. Any copyrighted materials above belong to their respective owners.
Featured image of various Black Roman Catholic bishops found here. Used under Fair Use.