Bishop Braxton to speak at the shrine Feb. 25

Bishop Edward K. Braxton of Belleville will give an address at 2 p.m. Feb. 25, at the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows Guild Center in Belleville on the topic, “The Catholic Church and the Black Lives Matter Movement.

Many Catholics hear the term “black lives matter” and wonder what it means. Does it imply a rejection of people who are not African American? Does it advocate violence and the destruction of property? Is it compatible with the teachings of the Catholic Church?

The bishop’s address will answer these and other questions by examining 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 the erroneous expressions “minorities” and “minority groups,” conflicts over issues of morality, and the impact Catholic social doctrine and the Good News of Jesus Christ should have on the racial divide.

While Bishop Braxton’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.