January 13, 2023
WASHINGTON – In observance of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio of the Archdiocese of the Military Services, USA, and president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has issued a statement:
“People keep saying, ‘Where’s the next Martin Luther King?’ We’re all called, I think. We’re called by our citizenship, by our membership in the human race. We’re all called to free ourselves and to free one another.” - Sister Thea Bowman, FSPA
Today, when Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. would have celebrated his 94th birthday, we reflect on his legacy of a non-violent struggle against racial injustice. In the 60 years since Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, we recognize the progress made towards a just society that leaves no one on the margins, without failing to acknowledge that much work remains.
Beyond remembering and quoting Dr. King today, we must act to address racial disparities in the criminal justice system, access to affordable housing and healthcare, and economic opportunities. The USCCB continues to support policy changes in these areas of society. On our website, you may read more about our policy work, the USCCB’s efforts to overcome racism, and ministry resources in working with and for Catholics of African descent.
Remembering that Dr. King was guided first by his faith also challenges us to personal conversion. Unjust structures exist because personal sin persists. As the late Pope Benedict XVI expressed, “To renew the church in every age, God raises up saints, who themselves have been renewed by God and are in constant contact with God.” For models of lives transformed, we can always turn to the saints. To this end, the USCCB has advanced beatification and canonization causes of six inspirational African American men and women: Venerable Pierre Toussaint, Servant of God Mother Mary Lange, Venerable Henriette Delille, Venerable Augustus Tolton, Servant of God Julia Greeley, and Sister Thea Bowman.
May their holy examples convert our hearts and our society, that we may achieve Dr. King’s dream of building a society where every person is recognized as a beloved son or daughter of God and treated with the justice and dignity that they deserve.
To read about the USCCB’s Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, which works on the bishops’ domestic policy priorities, please visit:
For more information on African Americans and Catholic ministry, please visit: https://www.usccb.org/committees/african-american-affairs/timely-resources-ministry-catholics-african-descent.
For additional information on the USCCB’s efforts to overcome racism, please visit: https://www.usccb.org/committees/ad-hoc-committee-against-racism.