Monday, April 20, 2015

Native African & African American Cultural Differences

I have been impressed with Pope Francis’ modus operandi, but I question whether he is aware of the racism that exists among an appreciable number of American Roman Catholics, both lay and clerical.  I question whether he understands that there is a difference between the cultures of native Africans and Americans of African descent (African-Americans).  Native Africans as well as Caribbean blacks have been elevated to the level of cardinal, but not Americans of African descent

Since there is an appreciable number of Americans who are cardinals, it is understandable that Pope Francis would by-pass Americans in his elevation of clerics to the College of Cardinals; but ignoring African Americans continues to be remains a blight on the vetting process.  How and why African Americans have been left out of the loop of American cardinals is a question that has yet to be addressed.


The latest elevation of clerics to the level of cardinal included three from Asia, three from Latin America and two from Oceania.  I believe that these newly elected cardinals are deserving of the title.  However, in by-passing African Americans, I question whether the Pope is even aware that African Americans constitute a distinct ethnic group such as Irish, Polish, German, etc.  Hopefully, those who have Pope Francis’ ear will bring to his attention the glaring omission of African American cardinals.

Chicago’s newly appointed Archbishop Blasé Cupich began his Chicago ministry by making his first church visit to an African American Church, St. Agatha’s, where a defrocked priest molested boys during his ministry at the church.  Archbishop Cupich extended his apologies to the congregation and was well received.      

Unfortunately, an appreciable number of clerical and lay Roman Catholics have overtly and covertly copped the practices of ‘mainstream’ individuals and groups in discriminating against African Americans.

The acclaimed movie, Selma, is vivid in dramatizing the grassroots struggles of African Americans, the progeny of slaves, to gain their civil rights.  It was nominated for the best picture award as was David Oyelowo for best actor.  However, since white male membership in the Motion Picture Academy is dominate; their partiality toward white contenders is no surprise.  However, I presume that the song, Cry, was the consolation award.

As I watched the movie, I was reminded of the time during Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s marches here in Chicago when a Roman Catholic cleric, a Father Lawler, led demonstrations to keep African Americans out of the then all white Marquette Park.  This residential area is currently integrated and includes a number of Latinos.