NFPC received a complimentary copy of “The Horizon of Possibilities: The Catholic Church and the Racial Divide in the United States – Old Wounds Reopened,” by Most Rev. Edward Braxton, Bishop of Belleville, IL.
The document is from a presentation that Bishop Braxton gave on Sept. 21 at a teach-in on fighting racism sponsored by The Catholic University of America’s National Catholic School of Social Service.
The bishop offered the audience a brief review of Church history regarding racism, saying Catholics and the Catholic Church are not above reproach. He noted that the U.S. Supreme Court opinion in the 1857 Dred Scott case affirming the right of slave owners to take enslaved people into the Western territories of the then burgeoning United States was authored by Chief Justice Robert Taney, a Catholic.
He also quoted writings from Pope Paul III (1534-1546) and Pope Pius IX (1846-1878), both of whom maintained that slave trading and ownership were not contrary to divine law. He said countries influenced by Catholicism such as Spain, Portugal, France and England were leading agents of the slave trade.
The document can be accessed at:
For a summary of summary of Bishop Braxton’s presentation from the St. Louis Review (Sept. 29, 2017), go to: