Thank you for the words of wisdom. Lots to ponder and absorb.

What do you mean by "representing" white people or Christianity?

By white, I was meaning that my skin color gives me an un-earned advantage. It is not meritocratic.

By Christian, I am a wanderer among the ruins. I converted to Catholicism in my 30's because of beauty and historical continuity and the Eucharist, not realizing the ruins are everywhere. Yet if we are truly one and truly catholic, there is some sense in which the Body of Christ is united across sects, even if only in death.

As a further question, is the (white?) Church called to do penance for racist sins, because of silence and complicity and historical participation in activities that denied the imago Dei in our fellow human beings? It feels like something is called for, yet I am at a loss what this would look like institutionally.

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Dear Michael Bowen,

I am a new reader, absorbing and frequently not understanding but trying. Thank you for this powerful article.

As a white Christian, I have this strong sense of a debt too large to be repaid. The guilt is ever-present; sometimes more, sometimes a vague awareness on the edge of consciousness.

I have resolved to live with this, seeking to move, to love, to grow in compassion for all who are my neighbor, to do what I can to make a difference in the world around me.

Yet, the guilt lingers, and I don’t know what to do. What wisdom would you offer, not even so much to lighten the guilt, but to increase my understanding?

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