The Catholic Church teaches that racism is an evil that must be eradicated from society and from the human heart. However, the institutional church, church leaders, and the faithful have not always lived in accordance with this teaching. At many times throughout history, Catholics have not only tolerated but enabled and fostered racism and white supremacy.
Author, podcaster, and activist Gloria Purvis has not been silent about the evils of racism, the obligations of Catholics to live out the church’s teachings on human dignity, and the reality of how the church has often failed. For Purvis, speaking these truths is part of what it means to follow Jesus, even when it means facing the animosity of the comfortable. In 2020, EWTN canceled Purvis’ radio show “Morning Glory” following her discussion of racial justice and the murder of George Floyd. But Purvis has continued to speak out prophetically, in articles and on her podcast, about the moral and religious obligation of Christians to oppose racism wherever it is found.
On this episode of Field Hospital, Jeannie and Mike talk to Purvis about her experiences as a Black Catholic, about the importance of anti-racism in our Christian life, and about the church’s shameful legacy in the history of white supremacy. If we believe in God and love Jesus. Purvis says, we need to speak the truth, and set captives free. We need to be able to rebuke the evil of racism.
Purvis is a graduate of Cornell University. She has worked in the mortgage industry and as a risk management director for a financial services company. Purvis has served on the National Black Catholic Congress’ Leadership Commission on Social Justice, as an Advisory Board Member on the Maryland Catholic Conference’s Respect for Life Department, and on the Archdiocese of Washington’s Pastoral Council. She is the host of The Gloria Purvis Podcast with America Media.
You can find out more information about Purvis, listen to her talks, and read her writings, in these links.
- “We Need to Talk About Race: Lessons from ‘The Gloria Purvis Podcast’,” by Gloria Purvis
- “How race influences our Catholicism—whether we know it or not”
- “Fired EWTN host Gloria Purvis: ‘I will never, ever, ever have regrets’ for discussing race,” by Mark Pattinson
- “A conversation with Gloria Purvis on the racial justice and pro-life movements,” by Kevin Binrbaum.
This episode of Field Hospital is supported by Catholic Theological Union.