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M. Shawn Copeland, Uncommon Faithfulness: The Black Catholic Experience - Research Paper Example

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M. Shawn Copeland, Uncommon Faithfulness: The Black Catholic Experience

It was after the civil war was won by the Union that Vatican instructed the bishops in the US to bring into the fold of Catholic faith, all the black people who had been freed from slavery (Copeland, 2009, p.1). Even then, the US bishops were reluctant to do the same and they went on overtly and covertly protecting the slave system by not publicly disowning it (Copeland, 2009, p.1). This book is an eye-opener for those who would like to understand the evils of institutionalization of religion. How Christianity that is a religion based on compassion and love could be distorted to justify an act the most heinous of its kind, namely slavery, is well-depicted in this book (Copeland, 2009). This book also has evoked immense hope in Christianity as a religion, through showing how this faith system became an inspiration for the oppressed to regain their dignity through faith. Catholic faith became the source of energy for the black people who were struggling against slavery and trying hard to build a dignified space of their own in the US mainstream society (Copeland, 2009, p.1). Copeland (2009) called this brave and dedicated faithfullness of the black people by the name, “uncommon faithfulness” and hence the the title of the book (p.1). ...
Some of the issues dealt with are, “the ageing Catholic clergy, the paucity of vocations to priesthood and religious life, financial shortfalls in dioceses, the closure of offices of black Catholic ministry, parish mergers, and the closing of Catholic schools in urban areas”2 (Copeland, 2009, p.4). The book is divided into three parts- part 1 deals with history, 2nd part with theological and ethical concerns and the 3rd part with pastoral matters and also has 15 contributing writers (Copeland, 2009). The editor of the book, M. Shawn Copeland is a theology professor at Boston college and had also held the position, the president of the Catholic Theological Society of America (Taylor-Camara, 2010, p.246). The first part of the book has traced the history of black Catholic movement, and detailed its current movement, aspirations and future directions (Copeland, 2009). The second part has linked black cultural identity and expressions with matters of faith and suffering and has given special attention to the gender angle involved (Copeland, 2009). The third part of this book has addressed the demand for new modes of pastoral discourses suggesting the need for “effective culturally and spiritually appropriate ministry from the church” for groups like Catholic immigrants (Copeland, 2009, p.9). Presenting “four models of relating religion and race”3, Raboteau (2009) has in his article in this book, traced the history of the unholy nexus between slavery and Catholic church in the US, during the era of slavery (p.10-12). Why the white and mainstream Christian community viewed black Christianity as a threat is explained by Raboteau (2009, p.11). The interpretation of the human values inherent to Christianity in favour of ...Show more


Uncommon Faithfullnes: The Black Catholic Experience, is an indepth analysis of the faith and theological culture of black Catholics and different aspects of their contribution to Catholicism in the US. This book is also about the experiences of black Catholics in the country…
Author : tprosacco
M. Shawn Copeland, Uncommon Faithfulness: The Black Catholic Experience essay example
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