Filed Under:  Letter to the Editor, Opinion

An Open Letter to Archbishop Gregory Aymond: Stand up to racism

28th October 2013   ·   0 Comments

Standing up to racism, front page, Clarion Herald by Peter Finney, Jr. September 14, 2013. Thanks for giving several examples to inspire us to speak out when ever we see racism or other such injustice, such as segregation.

The Times Picayune, Feb­ruary 2, 2011, “The New Orleans Catholic Archdiocese apologizes for ‘Sinful past.’ Today, it appears that these sins have continued non-stop.

Let’s understand clearly, with many people of many races, it was a long and hard fought struggle to put an end to segregation.

Blessed Sacrament (B.S.) is a Black catholic church surrounded by the Mississippi River and four white catholic churches. The Archdiocese merged B.S. with Saint Joan of Arc, another black catholic church that is 47 blocks away. The four white churches are nine, 10, 13 and 26 blocks from B.S. That’s directing and enforcing segregation and by the Archdiocese’s standards, that is a sin.

The Archdiocese created this racism and segregated church-merger sin. Only the Archdiocese can correct it. How just is it to have congregations praying to remove the Archdiocese’s self-in-flicked sin? My community thinks that the Archdiocese should apologize publically sooner than later.

Governor George Wallace said, “Segregation today, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever. Governor Wallace changed completely. Yet, today, year 2013, the Archdiocese continues to direct and practice de facto segregation. There has never been a law requiring segregation in churches, nor religious institutions.

You referred to Archbishop Alfred C. Hughes’ pastoral letter, ‘Made in the Image and Likeness of God’…Racial Harmony. My community received the letter as no more than local history with biblical verses with no indication for racial change in the catholic church. Racial Harmony is self-defined…Do not put racism or segregation on any table for a serious discussion. Keep the peace.

The pastoral letter admitted to the institutional racism and segregation in the church, that racism is a sin and a social disorder rooted in the belief that one race is superior to another.

The pastoral letter did not in any way attack racism, nor segregation. Instead, during that same period the Archdiocese used the word merger to segregate catholic churches, rather than the drawing of maps for church boundaries.

It is understood, everything belongs to the Archdiocese and segregation is all about money. When segregated, it is easier to give more to one group than another. Fifty Black Catholic parishioners of Epiphany Parish that were lucky enough to detect the Archdiocese’s secret request, for FEMA to redirect Epiphany’s $8 million. This redirection of money was to build two new schools, in two PRIVILEGED parishes (counties), far from New Orleans.

To have had Epiphany’s $8 million redirected, there is a 25 percent penalty fee. The Arch­diocese would have forfeited two $2 million (kept by FEMA), $6 million to build two new schools for the PRI­VILEGED groups living far away from Epiphany and New Orleans, and zero dollars for Epiphany. To repeat: Epip­hany’s $8 million would have gone down to zero dollars. The Archdiocese would have turned down $2 million, for its own coffers at the expense of the poor, as the PRIVILEGED is enriched with $6 million. This is the same PRIVILEGED that the pastoral letter spoke to.

The beloved President Bill Clinton’s HOPE VI, the late Pastor Michael Jacques, Dean of the Dean­ery and the Provi­dence Contractors with their pie in the sky promises, have left hundreds of families of the Lafitte Housing Develop­ment with nothing to return to.

If our late beloved Pastor Jacques were not the architect of these racial injustices, he certainly knew about them and preferred to remain silent.

You referred to ‘The Family Prayer’ that is recited at every weekend mass. Be assured, there shall be no change with racism and segregation until it comes from the pulpits by the clergy and through the media, as was done by Archbishop Jo­seph Rummel and the others.

The word of the Pope and the Church is to help and protect the poor. However, The New Or­leans Catholic Arch­diocese appears to practice the opposite.

(1) National Black Catholic Men’s Conference

(2) National Black Catholic Congress

(3) National Gather­ing for Black Women

(4) Office of Black Catholic Ministries

The above titles speaks for themselves…’ For Blacks Only’… Segre­gation reversed. That is an art. Since the Arch­diocese has labeled some Catholics as Black Cath­olics, what is the difference between a Vlack Catholic and any other catholic?

Therefore, it is requested that the New Orleans Catholic Archdiocese, act in good faith and demonstrate change, immediately. Sug­gestions: (1) Draw new maps for the public, showing the boundaries for each church…(2) Let it be known publicly that the New Orleans Saint Augustine Catholic Church is historical and the oldest most diverse church in the United States and shall never be closed…(3) Find some money for a football practice field for the Saint Augustine High school…(4) Add ‘segregation’ to your agenda, ‘The New Battle of New Orleans against violence, murder and racism.’

– Andy Washington

This article originally published in the October 28, 2013 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper.

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