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Return to Flock, Catholic Bishops Urge Black Priest

From Associated Press

The nation’s 300 Roman Catholic bishops on Friday admitted that racism exists in the church but urged black priest George A. Stallings to come back to the flock.

The statement from Archbishop John May of St. Louis, president of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, was the first response from the church’s national leaders to Stallings’ breakaway Imani Temple.

May, who represents all of the U.S. bishops, promised to give “full voice” to the nation’s 2 million black Catholics.

Stallings, 41, has held services at his newly formed Imani Temple for two weeks in defiance of Washington Cardinal James Hickey. A spokesman said Stallings had no comment on May’s statement or another call for unity from the nation’s 13 black bishops earlier in the week.

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Stallings has said the new congregation is necessary because the Catholic church has failed its black parishioners. He has also charged the church with racism.


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