ACHA Statement on Racism and Complicity

The ACHA has issued a statement condemning racism and supporting non-violent protest in the face of the brutal killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and too many other African Americans. As a scholarly association it calls on its members to provide the resources that we need to learn, educate, and reflect on historic Catholic complicity in service of the present and the future. 

As a scholarly association dedicated to promoting a deep and widespread knowledge of the history of the Catholic Church broadly considered, the American Catholic Historical Association reaffirms our condemnation of racism, and acknowledges the Catholic Church’s troubled history of complicity in white supremacy as a participant in imperial projects in the Americas, and the United States specifically. We recognize Catholic pasts of slave holding, segregation, and policing, among other parts of this history. The ACHA further recognizes the importance of non-violent protest to a democratic society and the long history of Catholic participation in it, and celebrates the centrality of witness to the Catholic tradition. While each of these has been the subject of crucial study by scholars of Catholicism, we recognize that the work of history is ongoing, and calls us to reflect, to engage in work of companionship, solidarity, and discernment, and to seek wisdom in how to talk with one another about difficult issues tearing at our nation. We honor knowledge produced within the Black community and other marginalized communities, and seek to center it across this work.

Our corollary mission is the advancement of historical scholarship through the support of our diverse membership. This means providing the resources that we need to learn, educate, and reflect on the past in service of the present and the future. To that end, we invite all ACHA members who are able and interested to share resources that illuminate racial violence and expropriation from the perspective of Catholic history, along with the voices and experiences of Black Catholics that have often been omitted from narratives of the Catholic past.

The Executive Committee therefore solicits the membership to think about recommended books or articles, primary source documents or texts from your research, or links to a recorded talk or oral history. Please share those resources and your reflections on them with us via social media with the hashtag #achahistory and tag @achahistory, e-mail them to us at [email protected], or send them to us using the form below. We will repost them for the education and edification of our membership on our social media and here on

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