Statement on Social Justice from the Institute for Black Catholic Studies at Xavier University of Louisiana
“Black Lives Matter,” white supremacy and racial justice was not language explicit in the creation of the Institute for Black Catholic Studies in 1980. Many of its founding administrators and faculty, however, were affiliated with the National Black Catholic Clergy Caucus and the National Black Sisters Conference which had diagnosed a blatant and impactful anti-blackness in the structures, systems and ministries of the U. S. Catholic Church in their respective 1968 public statements. African American Catholic theologians and other scholars had gathered in 1978 as the Black Catholic Theological Symposium. The proceedings of that first conference were published as Theology: A Portrait in Black. By late 1979, “Brothers and Sisters to Us: U.S. Bishops’ Pastoral Letter on Racism in Our Day” was promulgated. The U.S.C.C.B. asserted in this document that racism is a sin of injustice.
So it is that the IBCS was formed and nurtured out of a sense of self-determination – a 41-year old affirmation that black lives matter. The IBCS responds to ongoing white supremacist signs of the times with gospel values, Catholic faith tradition and Black culture. It was a spirit of racial justice that led St. Katharine Drexel and the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament to found Xavier University of Louisiana; the IBCS promotes that same spirit of justice as an educational institute focused on the holistic formation of Christian disciples, the pastoral and theological needs of Black Catholics, and the universal mission of the Church at-large to proclaim the good news of salvation.