Letters • August 22, 2022


Charge of ‘systemic racism’ is insulting

Regarding “How Church leaders can address system racism” (Catholic Virginian, Aug. 8): The unwarranted, baseless, purely political charge of “systemic racism” is insulting, to say the least, to members of a Church that is purported to be Catholic (universal) in its concern for the soul of each of its members. The whole subject is Marxist by definition — pitting groups against one another. Very sad. – Philip Melita, Charlottesville

Don’t blame people based upon their appearance

Chaz Muth’s article (Catholic Virginian, Aug. 8) raised these issues:

Bishop John Stowe is quoted: “I don’t think we understand the concept of systemic racism yet. Both how we operate from it and — God forbid — you use a phrase like ‘white privilege.’”

Why is the term “systemic racism” used in an article that provides no definition or examples? If we use it, let’s identify where we have work to do. I start with the U.S. government dividing Americans into five tribes (see the 2020 census).

Let’s stop such systemic division – we are all human beings who can and should treat each other with dignity and respect. Let’s stop systemic racism when we treat two of those tribes differently as was done throughout the article: one tribe is capital “B” Black, another lowercase “w” white.

Bishop Stowe is also quoted: “The topic of white privilege is delicate, frequently misunderstood, and it often puts white Americans on the defensive…” Why does it put a group of Americans on the defensive? Could it be that the term implies persons with not a hint of racism in their hearts are somehow responsible for events and sins outside of their control and experiences?

Let’s build upon Bishop Michael Burbidge’s words in the letter: “You are hearing directly from people whose experiences might be very different from yours.”

We must do the hard work of getting to the roots of racism, roots that live in the hearts of individual persons, and not take the easy road by simply assigning blame and culpability to larger groups of people based on their appearance. – Charles Doty, Norfolk

Listen to each other to form a common culture

In his guest commentary (Catholic Virginian, Aug. 8), Dr. William Donohue cites CNN and MSNBC not covering certain stories as a contribution to “our cultural collapse.” He has evidently chosen to turn a blind eye to the contribution that Fox News has made to enflaming our national and cultural discourse.

By spreading disinformation about the last election, critical race theory and the environment, their reports and commentary have led to attempts on the lives of honest election officials, the Jan. 6 attack and threats against education professionals.

Equating liberal media with ultra conservative media, like Fox and Newsmax, is at a minimum misleading and at worst dangerous. Conservative media has chosen to ignore science, data, historical facts and democratic principles. Their inflammatory rhetoric disguised as “patriotic fervor” has resulted in those who are easily led committing acts of violence against innocent citizens.

America is and always has been a blend of many cultures. We have attempted to hold it together with bonds of brotherhood, but now one segment of our society is being goaded into acting on fear of the “other” and choosing to hate. We must respect each other’s differences.

Until we start speaking to and of one another respectfully and with compassion, it will be hard for us to truly listen to what the other person is saying. And it is important that we truly listen to each other if we are ever to form a common culture. – Sandra Jarvis, Virginia Beach

Make better use of Catholic contributions

I will readily admit that I am a naive 76-year-old “cradle Catholic.” I have been through at least 50 years of tithing and contributing to various Catholic collections over the years.

I never imagined that one cent of my contributions would be part of the “millions of dollars” that the Catholic Church supplied to the failed “Value Them Both Amendment” campaign in Kansas to change the abortion law in the state.

Here are a few examples of ways I would hope our money would be spent:

  • Give a million dollars to starving infants in African countries who will die without proper sustenance.
  • Divide $2 million among 10 mothers who will be raising their child for 18 years without male support.
  • Give a million dollars to any U.S. city to provide safe shelter for the homeless.

I shudder to think of how much of the treasure of the Church might have been used in the past in political campaigns. – Annette Rimkus, Newport News

Editor’s note: According to the Kansas Governmental Ethics Commission, financial support for the “Value Them Both Amendment” came from the Kansas Catholic Conference ($275,000), as well as more than $2 million from the Archdiocese of Kansas City. The Diocese of Richmond did not contribute to this campaign.

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