Bryan Massingale is a priest and professor who combines scholarship, personal experience, and passion to examine and discuss the Roman Catholic Church’s response to racism in the United States. He begins by defining racism and tracing the history of Roman Catholic teachings on racism, reviewing statements and documents from the twentieth century. Massingale then suggests moves that the Church could take that would provide a “more adequate” response. His passion for the Church and African Americans inform chapters four and five. Chapter four reflects on the African American perspective of justice and hope, and chapter five discusses the “two traditions” that African American Roman Catholics inhabit. Massingale’s work is from a Roman Catholic perspective and can be used in educational settings. While Maggingale acknowledges the inherent difficulty in any conversation about race and racism, his gracious tone invites a conversation that candidly critiques his tradition and simultaneously looks to the future with hope.
Reviewed by Janet Hoover