Was first Catholic black priest black enough? [ChiTrib]

chicagotribune.com/news/religion/ct-met-tolton-black-priest-20100502,0,769299.story

The Catholic Church should be above this sort of stuff. Black, white, whatever, we are all sinners called to be children of God. If anyone can and should be colorblind, stand up and say “This is irrelevant,” it is us.

[quote=Pellman]The Catholic Church should be above this sort of stuff.
[/quote]

Can you specify which parts of the article you disagree with?

First black priest, lol.

They should ask the Ethiopian Orthodox how they feel about this article.

I know they mean in the United States, but the title just says the first black priest.

The ChiTrib: secular racist media. Nuff said.

Amen to that!:dts:

I disagree with blanket statements. Please point out the racism in the paper.

First of all, there’s no doubt that Tolton and Healy had a tough time to live in when it came to being black or of mixed race. I commend Tolton’s determination to stay true to the Catholic faith.
As for Healy, isn’t the fact that he was both black and white at the same time is something to consider. He moved past racial barriers and went on to care for yet another race, the native Americans. Obama could learn something from him. He’s seen as “African-American” instead of a person of both black and white heritage. His mixed heritage should be a unifying factor for Obama and for our nation. Instead, it has a polarizing effect because he’s perceived as a black man, making it seem like the white side of his family and the white side of himself has no importance. Shouldn’t both sides be of equal importance? Isn’t that what “racial equality” is all about?
But, back to the subject of the thread. I agree with the poster who said that the Catholic church should see past the racial thing. Obviously both Tolton and Healy were great men and Catholics and both should be recognized as such. What difference does it make who goes first into sainthood?

Acts 17:26
And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation;

Malachi 2:10
Have we not all one father? hath not one God created us?

Did not He who made me in the womb make them? Did not the same One fashion us in the womb? (Job 31:13–15).

Galatians 3:28; Colossians 3:11

I don’t see why race even matters.

I think the point of contention being reported on is not who goes first into sainthood, but who qualifies as the first black priest in the US.

The fact that there is disagreement on this matter is a fact that many find interesting, and the story illuminates racial attitudes from the 19th Century as well as today. That seems newsworthy enough; I’m not sure what fault people are finding with the Tribune for reporting on it.

He declined to participate in African-American organizations and turned down invitations to address the National Black Catholic Congress, citing the New Testament — “Christ is all and in all” — as his reason.

It sounds to me that Healy would have rejected people celebrating him as “first Catholic black priest,” because he considered categorizing people based on race as contrary to Christian teaching. Let those who focus on race choose the person they think is “black enough.” Pray for them, as I’m sure Healy would.

By the way, there was a Catholic Under the Hood podcast about Father Tolton a few weeks ago (April 4). Right now it’s in the middle of this page on the blog, and the link to the podcast itself is here.

Thanks Dig,

I might read one of the books about Fr Tolton…Slave to Priest sounds like an interesting story.

The entire article is an insidious attempt to accuse the RC church of PR based an a misunderstanding of Catholicism in general. First, the author of the article surreptitiously suggests that the Catholic church tacitly supported slavery in American, saying the church is coming to terms with its “racial sins” of the past. Then the author offers no evidence to support the claim. The reason for that might be that the church has always spoken out against slavery, particularly slavery in America, where both lay people and clergy, both catachumens and bishops, condemned slavery. Because the church itself does not have a homogenous identity – that is, because there undubitably were “Catholics” but were not actually Catholic and therefore did not follow the churches teaching on social justice (much like today, mind you) – the author can justify her racial bigotry.

The entire article is a joke. To suggest the church wants to canonize anyone because of the color of his skin is, at best, fatuous and, at worst, deliberate libel (again) aimed at the church. The church does not make saints; they recognize them. They church recognizes a saint by works and, for saints, miracles. Sainthood has nothing to do with race, and the shortsightedness of this article goes a long way in showing just how troglodytic the Chi. Tri. is: there are several black saints. What happened to fact checking!?

I think you’re reading a lot into it here - perhaps that’s why you couldn’t find any support for what you thought you read. I don’t see any claim in the article that the Church supported slavery. But it is clear that racial discrimination was present in the Church at the time, as the author pointed out regarding seminary admissions.

[quote=Shadynight44]Because the church itself does not have a homogenous identity – that is, because there undubitably were “Catholics” but were not actually Catholic and therefore did not follow the churches teaching on social justice (much like today, mind you)
[/quote]

I suppose one could make the case that the American bishops who refused to admit blacks to the seminaries weren’t actually Catholic.

[quote=Shadynight44] – the author can justify her racial bigotry.
[/quote]

I didn’t see any racial bigotry on the part of the author.

[quote=Shadynight44]The church does not make saints; they recognize them. They church recognizes a saint by works and, for saints, miracles. Sainthood has nothing to do with race
[/quote]

There are untold numbers of saints whom the Church does not recognize. Those who are notable for whatever reason are more likely to have their lives documented, to have causes for beatification established, and to have faithful pray to them for intervention. It is understandable that the first black priest in the US would get this attention.

[quote=Shadynight44]the shortsightedness of this article goes a long way in showing just how troglodytic the Chi. Tri. is: there are several black saints. What happened to fact checking!?
[/quote]

I didn’t see any claim in the article that these would be the first black saints.

Amen and amen.

Scribes and Pharisees. Nothing new, but still disappointing.

Pardon me?
The Catholic Church?
You mean the Chicago Tribune, don’t you?
The Catholic Church did not write or publish this article.

Who cares what the Tribune says?

At first that’s what I thought the OP meant, hence my post #2. But reflecting on it, I think he is actually addressing the Church. The article portrays Church members as being in disagreement over something as silly as how black is black. I have no problem with the article, which is accurate in portraying actual differences of opinion on this matter. I also have no problem with Church members for holding or expressing opinions on this.

How much importance is attached is what I think the OP is criticizing. I think it’s more a matter of individual spirituality - I may not share the focus on one or another of these priests, but I don’t feel called to judge others on the matter, unless they take it to the extreme.

Being thus categorized would have also limited Healy’s opportunities. For one, he most likely would not have been made president of Georgetown University.:rolleyes:

Are you claiming his ancestory was unknown to the University? Do you have evidence of this? Are you claiming that Healy hid his ancestory for personal gain? Do you have evidence of that? Making a smarmy sarcastic comment is easy (I should know, I do it all the time :D), but can you back up the implications made by your comment?

He went to Europe for his doctorate and priesthood ordination. Now, one could always argue that his racial background had nothing to do with it, but given the context of 19th-century America, to discount race is pretty disingenuous. And the fact the he could pass for ‘white’, once he returns from Europe (“Oh, he must be from southern France!”), means that he could be easily accepted as president of a major university. You do know that Black people were not even accepted as students to most universities at this time, right?:smiley:

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