"Open Wide Our Hearts" USCCB Pastoral Letter & Supplementary Materials

Here interested folks can access PDF's of the 2018 Pastoral Letter of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishop entitled "Open Wide our Hearts" and several excellent short 2-page topical briefing papers discussing in more detail aspects of racism discussed in the Letter.

I welcome any comments and ensuing discussion on ANY of these materials.  

Someone just needs to get us going in the comments box below.

Click on the links below to access these materials.

"Open Wide Our Hearts" Pastoral Letter (Full Text)

Systemic Racism


Criminal Justice

Income Inequality




The Native American Experience





  • Deacon Michael WardPosted on 7/29/20

    Well feeling bad is okay...some shame and sense of guilt are effective motivators to change personally and collectively, even if, ironically, these concept have ironically taken a rap in recent decades in our own church ;-) In dealing with these responsibility and accountability seem to be to really helpful ideas. I'm not responsible for what other people have done in the past, but being aware of it and feeling compassion and empathy for the victims is of course normal. In our time and place we are accountable for our own contribution to effective remedies and we mediation for the lasting damage done. The question always starts with critical self-appraisal and conversion of our own hearts and our own perspectives in order that we may play a just part in this effort. Being a part of the solution rather than part of the problem is a pretty good framework to keep in mind.

  • Kathy AlexanderPosted on 7/29/20

    I agree with Connie that racism in it's entirety is indeed overwhelming and cannot or should be ignored or tolerated. The letter states "Racism can often be found in our hearts—in many cases placed there unwillingly or unknowingly by our upbringing and culture". This sentence made me stop and think that children do not see color in others and only begin to see and react to it when it is brought to their attention. Such a difficult mindset to change, yet it is necessary, today more than ever. I appreciate our discussions as we each need to take the much needed steps to making a difference as we are all children of God.

  • Connie StrazzoPosted on 7/26/20

    Racism in it's entirety is overwhelming. My first reaction is to merely agree and feel bad about the historical and current day atrocities. Today we are called into peaceful, cognitive action that digs deep into the wounds of racism. Comprehensive change in policies, laws and accountability are paramount. After gathering a knowledge base it seems that brainstorming, discussions and planning would be next.