A Catholic Case for Reparations

12063775_880628641625_220248543911893373_nI recently had the honor of giving the Fr. Jerome Kelley Lecture at my alma mater St. Bonaventure University. There I served as the invited guest for SBU’s Francis Week festivities. I took the opportunity to make my first (public) foray into what will be one of my “next projects,” research exploring the entanglement of Catholics, race, and white supremacy in the United States. In this lecture, I blended autobiography and history to make the case that white Catholics bear a particular responsibility to make reparations for racial injustice in America. Watch me make “A Catholic Case for Reparations.”

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Race and White Supremacy in the making of “American Catholicism”

My latest for Religion in American History is essentially me extending an invitation to you to join a conversation on the role of race, racism, and white supremacy in the making of this thing we scholars call “American Catholicism.” Check it out below.


It’s October the 31st, so you all know what that means… Just twenty-one days until the American Academy of Religion’s annual meeting kicks off in Atlanta! (It also means my daughters will soon be Nemo and Marlin, but that’s a post for Facebook.) As you sit down and start planning out your time in Atlanta I want to call your attention to a roundtable conversation I’m especially excited about. Yes, I’m excited about it because I organized it, but I know it’s something many of you will be interested in as well. I want to invite you to join me and a group of stellar scholars for a roundtable conversation on “Race and White Supremacy in the Construction of American Catholicism” at 9AM on Monday, November 23 (Marriott L-405-406).

What will we be talking about? Well, here’s the short version. On the morning of Monday the 23rd, Emma AndersonShannen Dee WilliamsFelipe HinojosaKristy Nabhan-Warren, and M. Shawn Copeland will join me to think through at least two questions. What would the study of Catholicism look like if it included a sustained consideration of the ways race and white supremacy have shaped the very idea of “American Catholicism”? What consequences would such a consideration have for Catholic studies? Full disclosure: I think it would have far ranging consequences not just for the study of Catholics, but for the study of American religion writ large. Continue reading