Calls for Church to Work Toward Racial Justice
Loralean Jordan (SHG ’87) was raised in Springfield, Ill., on the fine parenting of Leroy and Johnetta Jordan and 12 years of Dominican education. She is firm in her Catholic faith and in her belief that it’s time for the institutional church to dedicate its zeal and resources to dismantling racism. It’s a pro-life issue, the Sacred Heart-Griffin graduate told AP reporter David Crary for a story that ran June 21.
“Black Lives Matter should be a pro-life issue, getting the same amount of resources and same amount of zeal as the pro-life movement,” she said.
A human resources professional based in Minneapolis, Loralean is an active member of St. Peter Claver Parish in St. Paul, Minn., and a national co-chair of the Dignity of Black Lives-Black Lives Matter subcommittee of the Knights and Ladies of Peter Claver, a Catholic fraternal organization.
“Individuals in the Church are acting. We’ve had all the bishops’ statements,” she said in a recent phone conversation. “Now it’s time for the institutional church to take action.”
In the article, Loralean says the bishops could make a good start by requiring priests to preach on racial justice for the feast day of St. Peter Claver, Sept. 9. Claver was a 17th century Spanish Jesuit who dedicated his life to African slaves in South America. He is the patron of interracial justice.
Curious about how her parents would react to Loralean’s statement, I reached her mom Johnetta while she was running errands with her husband Leroy. Both are Springfield Dominican Associates and founding members of SDART, the Springfield Dominican Antiracism team.
Johnetta was full of praise for her daughter’s comments. “I like what she said, and I agree with what she said. Groups and individuals within churches are doing something about racism. But the churches as institutions, whether we are talking about the Catholic Church or the United Church of Christ or any other church, are largely leaving the issue untouched on an institutional level,” Johnetta said.
For decades most mainline churches have taught people the principle of social justice—“The principles Jesus died for,” Johnetta explained. “They know what needs to be done.”
Loralean’s chapter of the Knights and Ladies of Peter Claver at her parish is actively involved in matters of racial justice. She said she feels blessed by the solidarity, within the predominantly Black parish, by their white pastor, Father Erich Rutten.
I told Loralean I started following the parish Facebook page the week of George Floyd’s murder because I knew it would add valuable context for my understanding. “Don’t miss Father Erich’s Sunday homily,” she said.
In his homily for Sunday Jun 21 I discovered a clear message. “The good news this morning is that your life matters. God watches over Black lives the same as every other. That is why we can say without equivocation that Black lives matter.” The pastor preached on June 21.