Peace & Justice Committee

June 14, 2020

Justice as Love is our Call                                                         
A Pastoral Response to Racism in our Nation

St. Clare Parish as a Catholic Community stands strongly against racism.

Excluding, marginalizing and dehumanizing people because of the color of their skin, race and ethnicity and anything that sets them apart is an act of hatred and has no place in the hearts of the people who proclaim the Lordship of Jesus Christ.  Racism rips people apart from each other and opposes the right relationships that God’s justice demands. This sin denies the dignity of human life.

Pope Francis reminds us: “We cannot tolerate or turn a blind eye to racism and exclusion in any form and yet claim to defend the sacredness of every human life.”

Today, racism stares us in the eyes with the unfolding of its various forms that exist in systems that are supposed to uphold the good of all people.  For many centuries until today, our brothers and sisters in the Black community have been through overt and deliberate enslavement and the systemic racism of modern times. People have died, families have been broken, communities have suffered, and individuals have been robbed of their right to exist equally in the same nation under one constitution. As Christians, we should not only see them as fellow citizens, but also as our brothers and sisters with whom we need to stand in solidarity, to suffer with (compassio), to pray and to fight with for truth and justice. This is also the opportune time to dig deep in our hearts and minds and discern how we have unknowingly or knowingly participated in this racial divide so we can make right the relationships we have offended or neglected; and thereby be effective participants for meaningful change.

“If you want peace, work for justice,” Pope Paul VI said.  We cannot demand harmony, civility and unity when justice does not exist.

St. Clare is committed to our call to justice as an act of love – the manifestation of God’s love for all.  We stand on our vision and mission as a Catholic Community committed to proclaiming Christ’s love for all, especially those who are in most need of that love.

St. Clare stands in solidarity with the Black Community today. We stand against racism against Black people and other people of color and commit to works of justice so that our small community here in SW Portland becomes part of the genuine resolution, lasting solutions and the authentic reconciliation between and among peoples in our nation.

Why stand in solidarity with the Black Community today? We believe as Catholics that the dignity of human life comes from God alone. The dignity of Black lives like all life comes from God, not from the auspices of other human beings. Hence, we believe, Black lives matter.

JUSTICE as LOVE is our Call.

At St. Clare, we will heed this call to fight for justice in all levels and in many forms, most especially through the pillars of our parish life – in our worship, as centers for life-long formation, our welcoming ministries and our service through charity and social justice.  Our response to this crisis is coming from our conviction as Catholics and as a local parish in Portland to be God’s witnesses to his love. St Clare therefore commits to these initial and intentional actions for transformation so that each of us may participate with the purest of intentions and purpose.

From: Fr. Don Gutmann, Parish Staff, Pastoral Council, Administrative Council, School and School Advisory Council and Preschool.

Action Statement
At St. Clare Parish, we are called:
To celebrate life-giving liturgies
To provide a center for Christian Formation
To reflect Christ through warm acceptance of all our brothers and sisters
To serve all, especially those most vulnerable

Each of the parts of our Mission Statement implore us to act in a way that reflects our Catholic beliefs and teachings which include a commitment to combat all forms of racism within ourselves, our parish, and our society:

Celebrate Life-giving Liturgies

  • Pray for and with the victims of racism during our daily and weekend Masses.

  • Provide opportunities for prayer and reflection that directly address fighting racism, promote justice, and encourage a self-examination of conscience regarding personal bias and prejudices.

Provide a Center for Christian Formation

Provide ongoing support for the formation and education of our entire parish on how to help end racism and promote justice including

  • researching resources for both children and adults that will be shared on our parish website.

  • hosting special events, like guest speakers, to hear and learn from diverse perspectives.

Reflect Christ through warm acceptance of all our brothers and sisters

  • Share the stories of our parishioners and community members through the ‘Sharing
    Our Stories’ page in the weekly bulletin.

  • Encourage all of our community members to know and examine their own stories and
    to have a genuine interest in the stories of others, especially those different from their own.

Serve all, especially those most vulnerable

  • Complete the work of reinstating our parish Peace and Justice Committee. Support and grow our social justice work within the parish and continue to seek out opportunities
    for our parishioners and community members.

  • Give financial support to vetted organizations that actively assist marginalized and disadvantaged groups within our local community. A list will be provided soon.

  • Encourage participation in peaceful community actions.

  • Equip parishioners with materials such as Faithful Citizenship that will help their decisions during elections.


Relevant Reads on Racism
Suggested by the St. Clare Peace and Justice Committee:

I'm Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness
by Austin Channing Brown, June 13, 2021

White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo,
June 20, 2021

How to Be an Anti-Racist
by Dr. Ibram X. Kendi, June 27, 2021

Video Presentation by Taylor Stewart, Founder of the Oregon Remembrance Project at St. Clare Church, July 11, 2021

Resources on Combating Racism from the US Conference of Catholic Bishops

Resources on Racism from the Archdiocese of Portland

Fr. Bryan Massingale, Professor of Theology at Fordham University, speaks with America magazine on "How the Church Can Combat Racism and White Privilege."



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