Author Topic: Is the Catholic Church a racist institution?  (Read 6717 times)

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Offline Matthew777

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Is the Catholic Church a racist institution?
« on: January 22, 2006, 11:38:39 PM »
"The negro has a religious nature. His docile, cheerful, and emotional disposition is much influenced by his immediate environment, whether those surroundings be good or evil. Catholic faith and discipline are known to have a wholesome effect on the race. Observing men and judges of courts have remarked on the law-abiding spirit existing in Catholic coloured communities. Some elements of the white man's civilization do not always tend to elevate the morality of the negro. The negro is naturally gregarious, and the dissipations and conditions of city life in many instances corrupt the native simplicity of the younger generation to the sorrow of their more conservative elders. (For a view of religion in these later times among the blacks in the native African home of the race, see AFRICA.) Contrary to a prevalent opinion, the negro, when well grounded in the Catholic faith, is tenacious of it."
http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/12627a.htm

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Offline Bogoliubtsy

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Re: Is the Catholic Church a racist institution?
« Reply #1 on: January 23, 2006, 12:26:47 AM »
That encyclopedia is from 1911. It actually seems to be a fairly generous view given the time and culture in which it was produced.
« Last Edit: January 23, 2006, 12:27:33 AM by Bogoliubtsy »
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Offline Matthew777

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Re: Is the Catholic Church a racist institution?
« Reply #2 on: January 23, 2006, 04:17:37 AM »
If that is true, why were Hitler, Mussolini and Franco never excommunicated despite being Catholics?
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Offline Carpatho-Rusyn

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Re: Is the Catholic Church a racist institution?
« Reply #3 on: January 23, 2006, 07:29:45 AM »
Actually the document "Brothers and Sisters to Us", I believe it is called, is one of the best documents ever put together by the American Catholic bishops....and the subject was racism. late 70's or early 80's. For once they did something right in committee.
« Last Edit: January 23, 2006, 07:30:31 AM by Carpatho-Rusyn »
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Offline Ntinos

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Re: Is the Catholic Church a racist institution?
« Reply #4 on: January 23, 2006, 07:37:24 AM »
If that is true, why were Hitler, Mussolini and Franco never excommunicated despite being Catholics?

Because excommunicating Hitler & Mussolini would mean the end of the Vatican See and the Pope being replaced by an anti-Pope the good old way the German Emperors did it?

Offline Serbian Patriot

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Re: Is the Catholic Church a racist institution?
« Reply #5 on: January 23, 2006, 11:37:39 AM »
"The negro has a religious nature. His docile, cheerful, and emotional disposition is much influenced by his immediate environment, whether those surroundings be good or evil. Catholic faith and discipline are known to have a wholesome effect on the race. Observing men and judges of courts have remarked on the law-abiding spirit existing in Catholic coloured communities. Some elements of the white man's civilization do not always tend to elevate the morality of the negro. The negro is naturally gregarious, and the dissipations and conditions of city life in many instances corrupt the native simplicity of the younger generation to the sorrow of their more conservative elders. (For a view of religion in these later times among the blacks in the native African home of the race, see AFRICA.) Contrary to a prevalent opinion, the negro, when well grounded in the Catholic faith, is tenacious of it."
http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/12627a.htm

Peace.
Im the last person to defend RC but its pathetic that you regard this as evidence that the Catholic church is a racist institution.  What exactly is derogatory or demeaning about this apart from the use of the word negro, which is latin for black and did not have the same negative connotations when this article was written?

Offline Matthew777

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Re: Is the Catholic Church a racist institution?
« Reply #6 on: January 23, 2006, 08:28:10 PM »
Im the last person to defend RC but its pathetic that you regard this as evidence that the Catholic church is a racist institution.ÂÂ  What exactly is derogatory or demeaning about this apart from the use of the word negro, which is latin for black and did not have the same negative connotations when this article was written?

It seems rather racist to take an entire group of people and insist that they think and act a certain way. The Catholic Church today may not be racist but it was in the past. For example, consider how Christopher Columbus and his 'missionaries' treated the Native peoples of the Americas.
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Offline Justin Kissel

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Re: Is the Catholic Church a racist institution?
« Reply #7 on: January 24, 2006, 04:03:37 AM »
Quote
Is the Catholic Church a racist institution?

No.

Offline Serbian Patriot

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Re: Is the Catholic Church a racist institution?
« Reply #8 on: January 24, 2006, 07:48:50 AM »
It seems rather racist to take an entire group of people and insist that they think and act a certain way.
Matthew your political correctness is reaching brain-numbingly ignorant levels.  Of course groups of people can have common traits, especially if they have a common genetic ancestry.  I suppose you'd consider it racist if i said that blacks produced better sprinters, that blacks are more prone to sickle-cell anemia, that Japanese are more courteous, that Serbs are emotionally high strung.  Some of these characteristics are genetic, some social, but please dont tell me that its racist to state that they might exist.

Offline Fr. George

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Re: Is the Catholic Church a racist institution?
« Reply #9 on: January 24, 2006, 08:42:11 AM »
For example, consider how Christopher Columbus and his 'missionaries' treated the Native peoples of the Americas.   

Christopher Columbus' purpose in coming to the "new world" was not missionary activity.
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Offline Fr. George

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Re: Is the Catholic Church a racist institution?
« Reply #10 on: January 24, 2006, 08:46:20 AM »
I don't see anywhere in the Catholic article where it says "all negros" or any sort of statement implying universality; only statements of common trait.  Same with what Serbian Patriot listed for other cultures: some behavioral traits are common amongst people of a common ancestry/culture.  If I say "Greeks in Greece are inherently distrustful of government" it is because it is in the culture to be so, but my statement is still true even if it doesn't apply to 100% of the people, and it doesn't make me racist.

Now, if I said "all Turks are stupid," then that would be racist - for it is a statement purporting itself to be fact, but is merely based on prejudice, and has no purpose other than to denegrade the other race.
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Offline Deacon Lance

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Re: Is the Catholic Church a racist institution?
« Reply #11 on: January 24, 2006, 11:21:09 AM »
While I can't speak for Franco or Mussolini, Hitler was a neo-pagan occultist.  Calling Hitler Catholic is like calling Stalin Orthodox.  Childhood affiliation does not a member make.
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Offline Anastasios

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Re: Is the Catholic Church a racist institution?
« Reply #12 on: January 24, 2006, 11:58:25 AM »
There is evidence that Franco actually saved Jews during WWII.  Now he was very anti-Catalan and anti-Basque though.

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Offline sdcheung

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Re: Is the Catholic Church a racist institution?
« Reply #13 on: January 24, 2006, 03:27:51 PM »
i don't think Catholics are racists nor do I think Orthodox Are Racists, they just have "opinons" of their fellow demographs. They can't help it, they observe and they know.

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Offline Matthew777

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Re: Is the Catholic Church a racist institution?
« Reply #14 on: January 24, 2006, 04:18:05 PM »
Christopher Columbus' purpose in coming to the "new world" was not missionary activity.

But when Catholic missionaries first arrived in the New World, they treated the Native peoples as savages.
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Offline Matthew777

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Re: Is the Catholic Church a racist institution?
« Reply #15 on: January 24, 2006, 04:19:54 PM »
i don't think Catholics are racists nor do I think Orthodox Are Racists, they just have "opinons" of their fellow demographs. They can't help it, they observe and they know.

I do not believe that its members of the present are racist. But the Catholic past, however, is questionable.
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Offline Anastasios

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Re: Is the Catholic Church a racist institution?
« Reply #16 on: January 24, 2006, 04:34:49 PM »
But when Catholic missionaries first arrived in the New World, they treated the Native peoples as savages.

The Aztecs practiced human sacrifice. So they well, were savages.  Of course, that doesn't condone mistreatment but I think you will find that many did indeed fight for the natives' rights. There was a movie about this starring Robert DeNiro based in part on true stories of missionaries fighting alongside Indians against the Spaniards to protect their lands (of course we know the result but the attempt was noble anyway).

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Offline Anastasios

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Re: Is the Catholic Church a racist institution?
« Reply #17 on: January 24, 2006, 04:35:19 PM »
I do not believe that its members of the present are racist. But the Catholic past, however, is questionable.

So you thereby make the same generalizations about the Catholic Church that you eschew when applied to racial situations.

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Offline Fr. George

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Re: Is the Catholic Church a racist institution?
« Reply #18 on: January 24, 2006, 04:40:35 PM »
But when Catholic missionaries first arrived in the New World, they treated the Native peoples as savages.

When I first arrived in Boston, I treated the native peoples as savages - and have yet to see anything to dissuade that belief. (JK)
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Offline Serbian Patriot

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Re: Is the Catholic Church a racist institution?
« Reply #19 on: January 24, 2006, 06:54:46 PM »
So you thereby make the same generalizations about the Catholic Church that you eschew when applied to racial situations.

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Re: Is the Catholic Church a racist institution?
« Reply #20 on: January 24, 2006, 07:19:11 PM »
The Aztecs practiced human sacrifice. So they well, were savages.  Of course, that doesn't condone mistreatment but I think you will find that many did indeed fight for the natives' rights. There was a movie about this starring Robert DeNiro based in part on true stories of missionaries fighting alongside Indians against the Spaniards to protect their lands (of course we know the result but the attempt was noble anyway).

Certainly in this one respect, this is hard to dispute.  But I don't like the possible implication that all native people were savages.  They were, in fact, often highly developed on the spiritual level. 

That movie with DeNiro is fantastic for the way it portrays his character's repentance from someone who was a hardened racist exploitive SOB to someone who came to see the native people as human beings.  It's called "The Mission."  It's well worth watching.....the care of the missionaries for their flock is juxtapose with their exploitation and even with how missionaries opposed violent struggle.  I think it was made in 1982.  A great film. 

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Offline Matthew777

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Re: Is the Catholic Church a racist institution?
« Reply #21 on: January 26, 2006, 08:31:26 PM »
The Aztecs practiced human sacrifice. So they well, were savages.ÂÂ  Of course, that doesn't condone mistreatment but I think you will find that many did indeed fight for the natives' rights. There was a movie about this starring Robert DeNiro based in part on true stories of missionaries fighting alongside Indians against the Spaniards to protect their lands (of course we know the result but the attempt was noble anyway).

Anastasios

Are you speaking of the film Mission? I remember that the Catholic bishop ended up supporting the slaughter of both the Natives and the Jesuits who protected them.
« Last Edit: January 26, 2006, 08:32:19 PM by Matthew777 »
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Offline Meekle

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Re: Is the Catholic Church a racist institution?
« Reply #22 on: January 26, 2006, 08:34:31 PM »
Are you speaking of the film Mission? I remember that the Catholic bishop ended up supporting the slaughter of both the Natives and the Jesuits who protected them.

I believe what you are doing is taking bad Catholics and bad events by Cathloics, and saying that they represent Catholocism.

Offline MarkosC

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Re: Is the Catholic Church a racist institution?
« Reply #23 on: January 26, 2006, 11:43:43 PM »
I don't see anything racist in the text.  There's nothing I see that directly attacks what it calls the "negroid" race.

The quotes phrase definitely is way too broad, and quite patronizing.  But neither of these are unusual in encyclopedia entries (or even academic writing) of the time.   

As for the Catholic Church...  THE CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA DOES NOT REPRESENT THE OFFICIAL POSITION OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH, EITHER IN 1911 OR TODAY. 

Yes, the encylcopedia has an imprimatur/Nihil Obstat.  But that means that there's nothing inside of it contrary to the faith (as it was at that time), as determined by the censor. 

Yes, the encylcopedia does contain Catholic teachings, but it contains MUCH more than that.   It's a work by Catholic professors, trying to provide what was then the insights of the latest scholarship for the educated reader.   

In my view, its flaws include:

- inconsistency: the articles are written to different standards.  Some are well written according to the highest standards of objectivity you can set; others fall FAR short of academic objectivity and accuracy.   

- too many opinions: frequently, the authors give their own opinions, theological or otherwise, on an issue the Church as a whole has not made a decision on.   

- rationalist critique: rationalist debunking of "unprovable myths" was fashionable among orthodox Catholic scholars then (the emergence of rampant heterodoxy in Catholic universities today has generally made orthodox Catholic scholars much more careful when they speculate).   There are LOTS of times when it says "such and such a tradition about Saint X has no proof it has a miracle; therefore it should not believed", sometimes in direct conflict with the opinion of the Church -then or now.   

- inaccuracies: there's been a LOT of scholarship in the past century in just about every topic in that encyclopedia which has provided incontrovertible facts that make some (not all by any means, just some) of the articles either obsolete or laughably inaccurate.   I know most people on this board will say "oh it's modern scholarship, so it must be evil".   Sometimes, you do have to take modern scholarship with a grain of salt.  But other times it provides incontrovertible evidence and insights about a particular topic.   

- changes in Church teaching since then:   as much as Tradist types will howl about it, the Catholic Church has come out with decisive statements in the past 100 years on various subjects which overturn theological opinions that were widely accepted back in 1911.  Vatican II and other documents before and since have decisively ruled on subjects like "who can be saved?", or the legitimacy of the Orthodox position.

The article on Hesychasm is an example of the encylopedia's strengths and flaws.  It gives an OK history of the controversy between Barlaam and St. Gregory Palamas (yes, I said Saint) and the subsequent decisions.   But where it presents the Hesycast opinion, it does so in an unobjective and polemical manner; I'm no expert in Palamite theology but I'd imagine it's wrong in several areas.   The article's condescension DOES NOT represent the Catholic Church's opinion on Hesychasm at all.   

So, the Catholic Encylcopedia is a generally OK reference book for Catholic theology, circa 1911.  There's a lot of good stuff in there.  But it must be read with caution; some things are dated or outright false.    And it's NOT the official position of the Catholic Church; those who wish to find such should go to this site:

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Offline Matthew777

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Re: Is the Catholic Church a racist institution?
« Reply #24 on: January 27, 2006, 09:05:17 AM »
What I'd really like to know is whether the past persecuation of the Orthodox Church by Roman Catholics was, at least in part, racially motivated.
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Offline Fr. George

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Re: Is the Catholic Church a racist institution?
« Reply #25 on: January 27, 2006, 10:14:29 AM »
I would think that it would be difficult to come up with proof for that point, M777, at least much more difficult that trying to prove that, say, the Orthodox were persecuted in the South for racial reasons in the early 20th century.
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Offline Justin Kissel

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Re: Is the Catholic Church a racist institution?
« Reply #26 on: January 27, 2006, 10:28:23 AM »
Quote
What I'd really like to know is whether the past persecuation of the Orthodox Church by Roman Catholics was, at least in part, racially motivated.

Aren't you at all interested in the opposite possibility? It seems like racism by Orthodox Christians would be something you should be more concerned about, rather than the speck in some other Church's eye... but maybe I'm wrong on that.
« Last Edit: January 27, 2006, 10:29:46 AM by Asteriktos »

Offline Matthew777

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Re: Is the Catholic Church a racist institution?
« Reply #27 on: January 27, 2006, 02:57:57 PM »
Aren't you at all interested in the opposite possibility? It seems like racism by Orthodox Christians would be something you should be more concerned about, rather than the speck in some other Church's eye... but maybe I'm wrong on that.

Did the Orthodox Church ever slaughter hordes of Roman Catholics? Think of how many Orthodox Christians were sent to concentration camps in the Holocaust, with the approval of Roman Catholic clergy.
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Offline PhosZoe

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Re: Is the Catholic Church a racist institution?
« Reply #28 on: January 27, 2006, 03:36:06 PM »
I do not believe that its members of the present are racist. But the Catholic past, however, is questionable.


American slave owners were largely Protestant? So the Catholic church is no more inherently racist than the Protestant churches or the Orthodox Church for that matter. Does racisim exist within our churches? Sure it does.  The church is only as good as the people in them.

If the RC church hates black people so much, Why does Kenya, Haiti or Cameroon have such large Roman Catholic communities?



« Last Edit: January 27, 2006, 03:51:10 PM by PhosZoe »

Offline Silouan

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Re: Is the Catholic Church a racist institution?
« Reply #29 on: January 27, 2006, 04:21:40 PM »
Quote
Did the Orthodox Church ever slaughter hordes of Roman Catholics?

The Orthodox hierarchy was all too willing to cooperate with communists in Romania in suppressing religious minorites (primarily Catholics - Roman and Uniate). 

If you want to claim racism was the cause for Catholic slaughters of Orthodox, that would also be incorrect.  I think the largest case of that would be the wa rcrimes of the Croation UstaÅ¡i against Orthdoox Serbs - but Serbs and Croats are the same race.  Nationalism perhaps, but not racism. 

Offline Matthew777

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Re: Is the Catholic Church a racist institution?
« Reply #30 on: January 27, 2006, 04:36:12 PM »
If the RC church hates black people so much, Why does Kenya, Haiti or Cameroon have such large Roman Catholic communities?

There is a difference between racism and racial hate. It would be racist to claim that all black people love fried chicken and watermelon but that wouldn't necessarily be a hateful statement.
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Offline sdcheung

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Re: Is the Catholic Church a racist institution?
« Reply #31 on: January 27, 2006, 04:49:16 PM »
all black people love fried chicken and watermelon.

But isn't that sort of true? and Big piles of sunflower seeds.. (That I have to walk around on the NYC Subway.)

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Offline Justin Kissel

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Re: Is the Catholic Church a racist institution?
« Reply #32 on: January 27, 2006, 05:43:44 PM »
Quote
Did the Orthodox Church ever slaughter hordes of Roman Catholics? Think of how many Orthodox Christians were sent to concentration camps in the Holocaust, with the approval of Roman Catholic clergy.

Perhaps you should slow down Matthew. First, what would the Orthodox slaughtering or not slaughtering Roman Catholics have to do with the topic at hand, racism? Second, what would Nazi Germany's idiocy being directed towards one religious group or another have to do with racism? Third, even if you were going to argue the case you are trying to argue (which is off topic), you would still lose ground since there were a lot more Roman Catholics in concentration camps than Orthodox, which peoples such as the Polish can attest to. Fourth (again off topic, but just for the sake of argument), if you think the Orthodox are squeaky clean from that time period, perhaps you should research where ROCOR was during that period. I would not dream of condemning ROCOR for what amounts to innocuous behavior, but according to your standards as applied to the Catholic Church some Orthodox would come off quite poorly, I think. Maybe you'd have better aim if you cast the stone at your own Church first; it's closer, you should be able to hit it easier. Happy hunting.

Justin
« Last Edit: January 27, 2006, 05:48:50 PM by Asteriktos »

Offline DavidH

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Re: Is the Catholic Church a racist institution?
« Reply #33 on: January 27, 2006, 08:53:21 PM »
"The negro has a religious nature. His docile, cheerful, and emotional disposition is much influenced by his immediate environment, whether those surroundings be good or evil. Catholic faith and discipline are known to have a wholesome effect on the race. Observing men and judges of courts have remarked on the law-abiding spirit existing in Catholic coloured communities. Some elements of the white man's civilization do not always tend to elevate the morality of the negro. The negro is naturally gregarious, and the dissipations and conditions of city life in many instances corrupt the native simplicity of the younger generation to the sorrow of their more conservative elders. (For a view of religion in these later times among the blacks in the native African home of the race, see AFRICA.) Contrary to a prevalent opinion, the negro, when well grounded in the Catholic faith, is tenacious of it."
http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/12627a.htm

Peace.

   Virtually every quality mentioned in these lines corresponds to Christian virtues and the tone seems to be one of admiration rather than racism. Perhaps whites should find it racist that they are not also being well spoken of? If Africans and their descendants generally have these qualities then they are indeed blessed- may we be granted the grace to emulate them!

In Christ,
Rd. David

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Re: Is the Catholic Church a racist institution?
« Reply #34 on: January 29, 2006, 04:42:20 PM »
There is a difference between racism and racial hate. It would be racist to claim that all black people love fried chicken and watermelon but that wouldn't necessarily be a hateful statement.
Claiming that all black people love fried chicken and watermelon is not racist.  Racism implies the belief that members of one ethnic group are superior to members of another ethnic group and aggression or discriminatory behavior towards members of a certain race or races.  What you are infact arguing is that the belief that capability or behavior can be racially defined is racist.  If you define this belief as racism then you are labelling reality as racist. A Statement may be wrong, right or somewhere inbetween, but the fact that someone can make deductions or generalisations about a certain group or population is not inherently wrong.  Infact im sure you wouldnt have a problem if I made generalised statements about all kinds of statistical populations, you only seem to get a bee in your bonnet when the word race appears.