After the shooting death of Michael Brown by a white police officer in nearby Ferguson, Missouri, Bishop Braxton of the Diocese of Belleville, Illinois, issued his first major pastoral statement on the racial divide in America. This timely and though-provoking volume opens with that statement, and concludes five years later with Bishop Braxton's reflection on the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. These events, five years apart, are the bookends on an ongoing effort to contend with the persistent racial divide and its meaning for the nation and the Catholic Church in America.
The Church and the Racial Divide also reveals the ongoing journey—and the gradual personal awakening—of an African American Catholic theologian and bishop in response to the challenge posed by resistance to the reality that “Black Lives Matter.” In his addresses, essays, and pastoral letters, Bishop Braxton invites a dialogue for healing in the church and the nation, urging readers to acknowledge difficult truths with openness to the Holy Spirit’s call to conversion, justice, and reconciliation.
Edward K. Braxton, Ph.D., S.T.D., is Bishop Emeritus of Belleville, IL. A former member of the faculties of theology at Harvard Divinity School, University of Notre Dame, and The Catholic University of America, he was invited by Cardinal Peter Turkson to participate in the international conference that marked the 50th anniversary of Pope Paul IV’s encyclical Populorum Progressio (On the Development of Peoples). Bishop Braxton is author of The Wisdom Community (Paulist Press) and The Faith Community (Ave Maria Press).