Civil rights movement carried on by ‘great souls’

Participants at the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington (CNS/Reuters)

Participants at the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington (CNS/Reuters)

Atlanta Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory, a 15-year-old seminarian in Chicago during the March on Washington 50 years ago, said he “realized that history was being made” when he watched the event on television.

In an interview with the Georgia Bulletin, archdiocesan newspaper, the archbishop talks about his own brushes with discrimination as a seminarian and a young priest. He also notes how the civil rights movement has made huge strides but can still make stronger inroads.

He said the movement has always been “much larger than any single individual” even Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., pointing out that “all of the great souls who spoke, wrote, sat-in, endured water hoses and vicious dogs” contributed to its success.

“The civil rights movement is a testimony of the courage of a pantheon of martyrs from Medgar Evers, to Malcolm X, to Viola Liuzzo, to James Chaney, Michael Schwerner and Andrew Goodman, to the little girls who died in the church bombing in Birmingham, to Dr. King and thousands of unnamed others. Those names punctuated my youth as the civil rights movement advanced toward freedom,”  Archbishop Gregory said.

He also indicated that there is still much work to be done.

As he put it: “We have made unquestioned progress on many fronts, including in the political arena, but we now face other challenges in the pursuit of justice. Violence against all forms of life has persisted, if not increased. We may no longer lynch people, but we euthanize the unwanted, experiment with fledgling human life, kill those we deem dangerous and expendable, we slaughter those within the womb as a perverted expression of freedom. We could certainly learn powerful lessons from nonviolence in such a violent context, as we now seem to find ourselves.”

8 Responses

  1. “…kill those we deem dangerous and expendable.” What an unjust way to express capital punishment. Such people are judged as Rev. Martin Luther King Jr hoped we would be able to do one day…”judge people by the conduct of their character, not the color of their skin.” There is conduct people performed where their actions forfeits their right to life. Less than 4% of those who commit capital crimes pay for it with their lives; 96+% are imprisoned and allowed to live. No one participating in the arrest, conviction or execution ever committed a sin as a result of this act of justice, nor will it ever be a sin.

    The U.S. bishops have remained mute as to who is responsible for the murder of over 56,000,000 unborn and born babies since 1973. There is ONLY ONE organization responsible for keeping the murdering of unborn babies legal in the U.S., and the bishops won’t pronounce the name of that organization primarily because so many Catholics have joined and remained in that organization, including the clergy, which gives it the elected power to enable the “legal” murdering of babies to continue.

    The bishops moved non-sinful prudential judgment issues under the roof of “pro-life,” a name coined to counter the pro-aborts calling themselves “pro-choice.” They did so that they wouldn’t have to make the obvious determination that belonging to that pro-abortion organization was a sin. They have no problem declaring joining the KKK or the Nazi Party a sin against the 5th Commandment with no conditions, but they turn away from using that same logic for joining the organization solely responsible for keeping the murdering of unborn human babies, created by God, legal.

    Catholics are the largest single group belonging and supporting that organization, and have remained so knowing what that organization is responsible for, because of the bishops’ actions in changing the definition of what “pro-life” means for Catholics. If the bishops think, as this archbishop does, equating the execution of convicted murders to that of murdering innocent unborn babies is a similar, or somewhat like, offense to God, then I ask him to explain what the Churches’ teaching is on those murdered victims who may not have been a believer in Jesus, or were believers but lead serious sinful lives and never thought they were going to die that day or moment because the attack happened so fast they had no time to repent and ask God for forgiveness.

  2. What is so fascinating is how the Democrat Party–THE political party of racism for decades–managed to successfully and falsely label the GOP as the party of bigotry, at the same time developing “social programs” that have turned blacks into a permanent underclass.

    When will the Catholic Church, in the interest of social justice, start questioning the merits of most of those programs?

  3. Reblogged this on D.E. Cantor and commented:
    Not enough people know about the good things the Church has done, including fighting for Civil Rights and the rights of working people.

  4. Civil rights activism was and is still needed. First it was needed to protect the rights of our black brothers and sisters. Now it is needed to protect the rights of the unborn and the elderly (Life). In all cases (then and now) the rights if these class of citizens was not considered politically correct, however, morality is not decided on public opinion but is judged so by the Mind of God.

  5. The above are cases of social justice. The Catholic Church has given very clear guidance in social justice. One outstanding document on this is “The Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church” published by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace (http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/pontifical_councils/justpeace/documents/rc_pc_justpeace_doc_20060526_compendio-dott-soc_en.html). This is a must read by all we Catholics as well as anyone interested in social justice. It gives very clear guidance in this area!!!!

  6. Stillbelieve, you are correct regarding capital punishment.

    Perhaps D.E. Cantor would like to expound on the meaning of “rights of working people.” Perhaps he would like to get into the nitty-gritty of that fight in recent years. If he would, he would see what often is hardly more than a power struggle between company owners/management and the unions.

    Mr. Finfera, the Church has stood behind every piece of Democrat-authored social legislation since LBJ pushed his “Great Society” program. The results have been the ruin of poor families, black and white. Tell us where the “social ljustice” exists in the dissolution of the family and the development of dependency in those “served” by the programs.

    It is one thing to feel good and salve consciences by promoting programs, it is quite another to demonstrate positive results. Sorry, but the liberal mindset has nearly a half century of demonstrating the first and having absolutely no concern about the second.

  7. Correct Duane! God is going to judge us more by our actions than buy our words. We are the Catholic Church and as such need to put its social teachings into practice!! That means you, I and all of us need to put our Faith into concrete action

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