The Syrophoenician woman sees herself as essential—both for herself and for her daughter. She is an uppity woman; we can assume that her daughter lived to often hear the tale, forming her as an uppity woman too.
Mothers like Hagar who bear the weight of racism in the wilderness (Genesis 21:14) are always on the verge of losing their children—inferiorized by racist prejudice. These mothers’ voices are crying out, “Do not let me look on the death of the child” (Genesis 21:16).
What connections may we draw between attack on the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, the Christchurch mosque shooting, African-American church arsons in Louisiana, the Easter Sunday bombing in Sri Lanka, and the synagogue shooting in San Diego?
The United States Catholic bishops’ recent pastoral letter on racism shows how racism has been woven into the history of the US, and is honest about the Church’s past complicity in that racism. It says less about how Catholics today can combat systemic racism, but offers hope for fruitful dialogues throughout the country.
In Open Wide Our Hearts, the US Catholic bishops successfully describe how racism has historically been at the heart of American life, but the pastoral letter emphasizes personal conversion at the expense of structural transformation.
The US Catholic bishops’ pastoral letter Open Wide Our Hearts seeks to assuage white guilt rather than inspire a courageous stand against white supremacy.
Fostering cross-cultural and cross-racial friendships of listening are essential to creating virtuous and just societies, especially in a fractured political climate that fails to serve the human good.