Religion: A First for Black Catholics

The Pope responds to a campaign for more leaders

In their first pastoral letter, in 1984, the U.S.'s black Roman Catholic bishops politely but urgently expressed concern about the paucity of black leaders in the church. Last year a Washington conference of 1,250 black Catholics repeated the plea for more blacks who would actually run dioceses, as opposed to being auxiliaries under white bishops. During his pastoral visit to the U.S. in September, Pope John Paul II signaled that he was listening when he told a New Orleans gathering of black Catholics, "Know that the Pope stands united with the black community as it rises to embrace its full dignity...

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