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Bishop Braxton of Belleville explores racial divide in pastoral letters

Bishop BraxtonBishop Edward K. Braxton of the Diocese of Belleville has a long-standing reputation as a scholar whose writings on a wide range of theological and pastoral topics spark meaningful dialogues among the Catholic faithful.

While honing his academic skills, Bishop Braxton studied and taught at a variety of institutions of higher learning, including the Catholic University of Louvain in Belgium, the Divinity School of the University of Chicago, Harvard University Divinity School, the University of Notre Dame, and the North American College in Rome.

A sought-after speaker, Bishop Braxton has been invited to preach in major Catholic and Protestant pulpits, such as the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, St. Mary’s Cathedral in San Francisco, the Sage Memorial Chapel at Cornell University, the Memorial Church at Harvard University, and the Rockefeller Chapel at The University of Chicago.

During the past few years, Bishop Braxton has turned his attention to the plight of African-Americans in American society and the Catholic Church, and we are proud to feature some of his recent works here.

 

“The Racial Divide in the United States: A Reflection for the World Day of Peace 2015,” published Jan. 1, 2015

 

Bishop Braxton surveys the growing undercurrents of racial tension in this document, as he examines the shootings and aftermath of Trayvon Martin, Oscar Grant, John Crawford III, Michael Brown, Jr., Eric Garner and Tamir Rice. The bishop offers a study guide to this piece, challenging readers to expand their understanding of cultural diversity in light of Church teaching.

 

“The Catholic Church and The Black Lives Matter Movement: The Racial Divide in the United States Revisited,” published Feb. 26, 2016

The shootings of the above-mentioned African-American men prompted the Black Lives Matter international movement, as activists campaign against violence and systemic racism. Bishop Braxton recognizes the importance of the movement, and expands upon his original document to discuss how Black Lives Matter and the teachings of the Catholic Church could intersect.

 

“Moral Leadership in Action,” published in America magazine, July 26, 2016

Bishop Braxton’s writings on the racial discord gripping the country resulted in his penning a column for America magazine, calling for servant leaders as our fractured nation faced a contentious presidential election in November.

 

“There Are No Minority Voters in the U.S.,” published in National Catholic Register, Sept. 29, 2016

As the United States drew nearer to the November election, Bishop Braxton wrote a column for National Catholic Register, speculating on the meaning of so-called “minority” voters.  He notes that America is often referred to as a diverse nation that is striving to be one.

 

“We, Too, Sing America: The Catholic Church and the Museum of African American History and Culture,” published Jan. 15, 2017

Bishop Braxton recounts his post-election visit to the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C., which opened a couple of months earlier on Sept. 24, 2016. As he confronts exhibits tracing the influence of African-Americans on American culture, he realizes the Catholic Church and its people can serve as a bridge from the troubled past to a new future.