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When Joseph Pearce roamed the streets of England as a young, angry white supremacist, he found that he was constantly driven by one emotion: anger. It felt good to hate his enemies, and it felt even better when they responded with hate:
“In my days of pride, I hated my enemies, and I expected my enemies to hate me. It was the old law of: an eye for an eye…..The way out of this deadly spiral is to go beyond the love of neighbor, as necessary as that is, and to begin to love our enemies. This is not simply good for us, freeing us from the bondage of hatred; it is good for our enemies also.”
Only after he encountered forgiveness and friendship did he eventually reject his prejudicial worldview, and after reading the works of great Catholic writers and theologians, Pearce is now a respected theologian in his own right.
Recent events and footage of violent clashes is a sad reminder that America is not completely free of racism or extreme worldviews. And so, in his latest podcast, Bishop Wall proposes that Catholics and people of good conscience act as Jesus has always called us to: with courageous love for one another. In the last century alone, there are many stories of saints or Christian figures who stood up, sometimes at the cost of their own lives, to act with selfless concern for the hearts and souls of their neighbors – some of their stories are covered in this episode.
03:45 – How should we react if we ever personally encounter racism or prejudice?
09:11 – St. Maximilian Kolbe, the priest who gave up his life for a Jewish prisoner during the Holocaust
11:15 – The conversion story of Joseph Pearce, who spent his youth as a white supremacist
13:10 – How Reverend Wade Watts convinced John Lee Clary, a Grand Dragon of the KKK, to reject racism and ultimately become a Christian pastor
16:05 – Daryl Davis, the man who used friendship to convince dozens of KKK members to leave the organization
17:35 – Bishop Wall’s reflections as the leader a multicultural diocese
21:35 – Final thoughts
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Featured image by Samantha Mary Photography in Gallup, NM
Outro Music: The Time to Run