Free lecture to focus on racial justice in the age of Obama


Thomas Merton, the famed Trappist monk and poet who in engaged different faiths and cultures in peaceful dialogue amidst the tumultuous climate of the 1960s race riots and Vietnam War, is the subject of the fourth annual Thomas Merton Black History Month Lecture on Monday, February 22, at Bellarmine University’s Frazier Hall.

The lecture, “Engaging Racism: Thomas Merton, the Church and the Ongoing Quest for Justice,” features Guest lecturer Rev. Bryan Massingale, associate professor at Marquette University in Milwaukee, as well as a professor in the Institute for Black Catholic Studies at Xavier University in New Orleans. Rev. Massingale will examine the contrast between Merton's approach to racial justice with that of the Roman Catholic Church, exploring the various stances and practices of the contemplative Merton, the Church in Merton’s day and the post-Vatican II Church, through to the America of the Obama Administration and beyond. Massingale’s latest book, Racial Justice and the Catholic Church (Orbis Books), will be published at the end of this month.

Massingale, a black priest and moral theologian, is a prolific writer and award-winning columnist. He is an expert on social ethics and Catholic social teaching, liberation theologies, African-American religious ethics and racial justice. Racial Justice and the Catholic Church views issues such as environmental justice, the HIV/AIDS stigma, post-Katrina racism, terrorism and affirmative action through the lens of Catholic social thought.

The lecture is sponsored by the Office of Multicultural Affairs. It begins at 7:00 P.M. in Frazier Hall and is free and open to the public. For more information, visit, or contact Tabatha Thompson, Director of Media Relations, at 452-8329.

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Photo: Courtesy Merton Center

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