A very strong corrupting factor in cultures throughout history is the presence of racism. We just have to take a quick look through history to see its destructive power. In 2018 the US Bishops’ Conference responded to the power of racism by writing and publishing a pastoral letter against this “persistent form of evil”: Open Wide Our Hearts: The Enduring Call to Love. The letter opens with the Scripture from St. John that says: “See what love the Father has bestowed on us that we may be called the children of God. Yet so we are.” The letter continues to address: What Is racism?

Racism arises when – either consciously or unconsciously – a person holds that his or her own race or ethnicity is superior and therefore judges persons of other races or ethnicities as inferior and unworthy of equal regard. When this conviction or attitude leads individuals or groups to exclude, ridicule, mistreat, or unjustly discriminate against persons on the basis of their race or ethnicity, it is sinful. Racist acts are sinful because they violate justice. They reveal a failure to acknowledge the human dignity of persons offended. To recognize them as the neighbors Christ calls us to love (Mt. 22,39).