Religion: Black First

Among the 47 million Roman Catholics in the U.S., blacks are a distinct minority, numbering only about 800,000. But the minority is an increasingly vocal one. Last week in Washington, D.C., 350 delegates to the first national convention of black lay Catholics angrily excoriated the church for failing blacks and presented a list of demands.

The delegates charged white U.S. Catholics with "failure to be sensitive to us as a people with a particular culture, heritage and history." There is, they declared, "little resemblance between the Catholic Church in America and the Gospel of Jesus Christ." While affirming their belief "in the...

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