Black Catholics Believe Church Is Beset by Racism, Survey Says
A national survey of America’s black Roman Catholics has disclosed widely held concerns that the church is beset by racism, threatened by the loss of young members and in need of new efforts to involve black members in decisions about church life.
Nine out of every 10 black Catholics surveyed under the auspices of the National Office for Black Catholics, a church organization, said that they believe “racism still exists in many phases of parish, school, diocesan and archdiocesan structures.” More than 70% said large numbers of young blacks are leaving the church for other denominations and 51% said blacks do not participate fully in church decisions.
“The survey clearly shows that Catholic schools, youth and adult leadership and black spirituality workshops are very important and are needed,” the authors of the study said in a report to be issued here this week . The 2,200 blacks surveyed expressed the hope that “something could be done to address the needs of isolated black Catholics tucked away in dioceses throughout the country.”
There are 1.5 million black Catholics in America but only a handful of black bishops and few black priests. The study by National Office for Black Catholics marked the first effort in more than 16 years to survey black Catholics and assess their needs.