FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 17, 2020
“Faith and America’s Original Sin:” A Currents News Special Broadcast on Racism in the Diocese of Brooklyn Takes an Introspective Look by Listening to African American Catholics
Currents News, the nightly program that covers news from the Catholic perspective on NET-TV, is airing a special broadcast that addresses the issue of racism and the progress being made in the Diocese of Brooklyn.
“Faith and America’s Original Sin,” hosted by Currents News Anchor Christine Persichette, will air tonight at 7:30 pm on NET-TV, the cable channel of the Diocese of Brooklyn. The special program addresses the work of the Diocesan Commission on Racism and Social Justice, which was instituted by Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio in 2017, after the white supremacist rallies in Charlottesville, Virginia. The special features testimonials from listening session members and Commission members.
The Commission has been hosting listening sessions with African-American Catholics in the Diocese to hear their perspective. “I think it was very important that we listen to the people of our diocese to understand their experience of racism both in society and within the church,” said Auxiliary Bishop Neil Tiedemann, Chair of the Commission.
Father Alonzo Cox, Secretary of the Commission, said hearing stories of racism experienced by Catholics is necessary, painful as it is. “We went on to ask our participants how they have experienced racism. Many of them gave horror stories unfortunately of how people in the pews treated them, how they were treated by priests or religious and a lot of it is perception. They perceived that they felt treated differently because of the color of their skin,” said Father Cox.
“We are moving forward so that each and every one of us can come together to preach the word of God,” said Father Cox. He also speaks of two late priests on the path to Sainthood, Monsignor Bernard J. Quinn, and Father Augustus Tolton.
Monsignor Quinn opened a church for African American Catholics, St. Peter Claver in Bedford-Stuyvesant, at a time when the color of one’s skin was a barrier to attending Mass. Father Augustus Tolton, who was born a slave, was the first African-American priest ordained in the United States. Father Tolton had to attend a seminary in Rome for no American seminaries at the time would accept him.
“It is incumbent upon all of us to broaden ourselves to get to know persons beyond our so-called circle of comfort,” said Judge Bert Anthony Bunyan, a Commission Member.
Currents News airs on NET-TV in the New York City market seven days a week. It’s available on Spectrum, channel 97; Optimum, channel 30; Fios by Verizon, channel 48.
“Faith and America’s Original Sin,” can also be seen on the Currents News YouTube channel at https://youtu.be/MEoqs_