Catholic church unveils Black Mary and Jesus posters in anti-racism drive
The Catholic church has unveiled posters depicting Mary and Jesus as different ethnicities as part of an anti-racism drive launched in the wake of George Floyd’s murder.
The images, showing the Biblical figures as Black, Asian and Middle Eastern, are to reflect the “rich diversity” of the church community.
The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales released the artwork as part of its newly launched Racial Justice Sunday event, created after Floyd’s death in Minneapolis in 2020.
Father Mark Odion, a member of the steering group, told The Independent: “Depictions of the Holy Family have often reflected the culture in which they were created. It is important that we recognise the rich diversity of the Catholic community, not only in England and Wales, but throughout the world.
“By highlighting the inherent human dignity of all, we hope to advance the church’s mission to challenge the evil of racism wherever we find it.
“Through my own experience of coming from Nigeria to the UK and working with Catholics from many different ethnic backgrounds, I have seen how important it is to ensure that everyone feels included in the life of the church.”
The drive is the latest initiative from Christian churches which are seen as an attempt to tackle racism.
In January, the Church of England (CoE) apologised for its “shaming” links to the transatlantic trafficking and enslavement of African people.
It came after a report found the church’s £10 billion investment fund has part of its origins in Queen Anne’s Bounty, which was founded in 1704 and had links with chattel slavery.
This prompted the church to announce £100 million of funding for a programme of investment, research and engagement to try to “address past wrongs”.
The CoE also appointed its first racial equality director, Guy Hewitt, who will work alongside the Archbishops’ Commission for Racial Justice to tackle discrimination in its ranks.
In February, a national Church of England conference heard from Lord Paul Boateng, Archbishop of York’s Racial Justice Commission, how it is “part of the problem” when it comes to the discrimination Gypsy, Traveller and Roma people face.