A Catholic bishop in Spokane responded to a video by Catholic Charities leader, saying the Black Lives Matter organization conflicts with the church’s teachings.
The Rev. Thomas Daly addressed the video by Rob McCann, CEO and president of Catholic Charities of Eastern Washington.
McCann said on a video posted on June 19: “My Catholic church and my Catholic Charities organization is racist. How could they not be? Our Catholic faith tradition was built on the premise that a baby born in a manger in the Middle East was a white baby. So how can we be surprised to know that we are a church that must fight against racism, even now?”
Daly responded to the video in a statement on July 5.
“[Black Lives Matter] is in conflict with Church teaching regarding marriage, family and the sanctity of life,” Daly wrote. “Moreover, it is disturbing that BLM has not vocally condemned the recent violence that has torn apart so many cities. Its silence has not gone unheard. One need not stand with BLM to stand for Black lives.”
“McCann’s blunt presentation was interpreted by many as levying false accusations against ‘whites’ and the Catholic Church,” Daly said.
Daly also said the changes being implemented at the church would include: the Annual Catholic Charities Christmas Collection being replaced or also taking place with Black and Indian Missions Collection, asking Catholic Charities to sponsor speakers to address race, and having Catholic Charities addressing abortion and its effects on the Black community.
McClatchy News reached out to leaders of the Black Lives Matter movement on Wednesday, but did not receive a response.
McCann later made some clarifications about his video.
“Though I meant the video to begin a humble examination of my role and Catholic Charities’ role in systemic racism, it was perceived as an attack on the Church. And though I meant the video to begin healing rifts within our community, it resulted in some people becoming further entrenched in their positions,” McCann said in a statement.
“In my video message I spoke only of harms done by some Catholic groups and individuals, those who enslaved people and those who damaged cultures and abused people in some Indian schools,” McCann continued. “I never intended my blanket statements to deny any of the good work that has been done by Catholics in the U.S. and abroad, from missionaries to Civil Rights leaders.”
Pope Francis decried the death of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man who died in Minneapolis police custody on May 25.
“Today I join the Church in Saint Paul and Minneapolis, and in the entire United States, in praying for the repose of the soul of George Floyd and of all those others who have lost their lives as a result of the sin of racism,” the pope said on June 3.
Floyd, 46, died after now-fired Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck as three other officers failed to intervene. Chauvin has been charged with murder, and three other officers also face charges.