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My Dear Friends in Christ,
Events of recent months have brought to wide public awareness what many of you have experienced for far longer, racism and violence against people of Asian descent, which are increasingly occurring throughout the United States. This is disturbing, unacceptable for our society and contrary to the human dignity that is at the heart of Church teaching.
The issue of racism is a systemic problem in our country. It undermines the moral fabric of communities and creates division where those in a particular group are marginalized. In the 2018 USCCB Pastoral Letter, "Open Wide Our Hearts," the bishops of the United States recognized that the "roots of racism have extended deeply into the soil of our society."
We need to ensure that the discussion around systemic racism recognizes the violence and discrimination Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have experienced. As I have previously shared, the antidote to the poison of racism is community and solidarity. The reality of racism in our society and the moral imperative of racial equality and justice must be incorporated in our schools, our teaching, and our preaching.
As a Church, we need to welcome a conversation with our brothers and sisters of Asian descent and the struggles they experience. By embracing their pain as real and making clear our rejection of any acts of hate and violence, we can better understand the devastating impact racism has on too many people.
We must all recognize our responsibility to speak up when we witness acts of racism and violence against people of Asian descent, whether the acts are subtle or overt. Acts of racism are always sinful and destructive.
In the Commonwealth, Asians represent more than 7 percent of the population. The Archdiocese of Boston is enriched by parishes with vibrant Vietnamese, Indian, Cambodian, Chinese, Korean and Filipino communities and is blessed to have ordained a number of priests of Asian descent.
As people of faith, committed to living by the principles set forth by Christ, we stand in solidarity with Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. We reject all forms of racial injustice and violence. Through the grace of God, we endeavor to follow the guidance of Pope Francis who has stated, "we are called to live not as one without others, above or against others, but with and for others."
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Cardinal Seán P. O'Malley, OFM Cap.
Archbishop of Boston