I was recently asked to give a presentation on Black Catholicism and social justice for the California Chinese Catholic Living Camp (CACCLC) 2020 retreat. It, like everything else for now, was virtual, which gave me the opportunity to present from home in New Orleans—one of several hubs of Black Catholicism. 

Looking back, I’m pretty sure I was asked to choose from among several topics: the history of Black Catholics, my personal experience therein, the Black vocations crisis, social justice, and my personal testimony. But in very Nate Tinner fashion, I went rogue and drew in a little bit of everything. In some ways, it’s hard to cover any one of those topics without delving into the others, so I like how it turned out. As Dr. Shannen Dee Williams likes to say, Black history is Catholic history.

For further reading:


The History of Black Catholics in the United States

Desegregating the Altar: The Josephites and the Struggle for Black Priests, 1871–1960

Articles and Documents:

Black Catholic Worship: Some Reflections by Bishop Perry

Meeting with the Black Catholic Community of New Orleans, John Paul II 12 September 1987

The Gift of the African-American Catholic Tradition by Msgr Charles Pope

Williams, Shannen Dee. Black nuns and the struggle to desegregate Catholic America after World War I. (Dissertation)

Statement of the Black Catholic Clergy Caucus, 1968

Image: Adobe Stock


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Nathaniel "Nate" Tinner-Williams is a co-founder and editor of the Black Catholic Messenger. He is also a theology grad/nerd and loves to engage in the New Evangelization through the internet. A lifelong Christian and newborn Catholic, he is always looking to discover just how deep and wide the Church truly is.

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