The Most Rev. Edward K. Braxton, Bishop of Belleville will give a major address at John Carroll University on the Catholic Church and the Black Lives Matter Movement on Thursday, Jan. 19, 2017. The bishop’s address will examine key elements contributing to the racial divide in the United States and the emergence of the Black Lives Matter Movement from the perspective of the Catholic Church. He will explore the reasons only a small number of African-Americans are Catholics (2.9 million out of nearly 70 million American Catholics), the “all lives matter” vs. “Black lives matter” debate, the negative impact of minority/majority language, conflicts over issues of morality, and Catholic social doctrine and the Good News of Jesus Christ.
The bishop was invited to the campus of the Jesuit University by the Rev. Robert L. Niehoff, SJ, president of the university, to commemorate the 87th anniversary of the birth of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and the 50th anniversary of the election of Mr. Carl Stokes, the first African-American mayor of a major American city.
Bishop Braxton ministered for several years in the Diocese of Cleveland in the late 1970s and early 1980s. He also served as Special Assistant for Theological Affairs to the late James Cardinal Hickey, when he was Bishop of Cleveland, serving as the bishop’s personal theologian and research assistant. During that time, he was a member of the faculty of theology at St. Mary Seminary and provided weekend ministry at St. Angela Merici Parish in Fairview Park, Ohio.
While the bishop’s formal education and writings in systematic theology have led to teaching positions at Harvard Divinity School and the University of Notre Dame, in recent years he has turned his scholarship to the question of the racial divide. In 2015, he issued his Pastoral Letter, “The Racial Divide in the United States: A Reflection for the World Day of Peace 2015.” In 2016, he published the companion Pastoral Letter, “The Catholic Church and the Black Lives Matter Movement: The Racial Divide Revisited.” These were followed by, “Moral Leadership in Action: All Lives Really Do Matter” and “There are No Minority Voters.” Since their publication, Bishop Braxton has lectured nationally, becoming a leading voice in the Catholic Church on improving race relations. The bishop’s writings and addresses are intended to invite individuals and groups to enter into conversations about important and sensitive subjects without judging others in the hope of attaining greater understanding, mutual respect, and realistic efforts to bridge the racial divide.
The lecture Thursday night, Jan. 19th, will be at Donahue Auditorium, the Dolan Science Center, at 7:30 p.m. All are welcome. There is no entrance fee. There will be an opportunity to ask questions.