In Genesis 1:26, God says. “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.”
The human person is the summit of God’s creation. But God wasn’t satisfied with creating just one race of humans. Though He started with only one pair — our first parents — He intended creation to unfold so that many races of human beings would emerge — each one bearing His image.
“Diversity” is a loaded word today. We invite you to take a moment and leave behind any associations with the word you may have gotten from the media and politicians and explore the beauty of racial diversity through the eyes of the Church.
Here is why racial diversity matters to us as Catholics.
It highlights the universality of the Church.
Christ came to save all, though not all embrace that gift. 1 Timothy 2:4 says that God “desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”
Christ established a universal Church as the vehicle for this salvation. It’s true that the Church has been historically shaped more by certain cultures than others (especially Jewish, Roman, and Greek). But its doctrines are from God and answer the universal desires and problems all face: love, joy, union with the divine, sin, death, etc.
In Christ, as St. Paul teaches, there is no “Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Though God became incarnate in a certain time and as a certain race, as God He transcends all races.
By promoting racial diversity in the Church, we show that the unity of the Body of Christ goes much deeper than the color of our skin.
It shows the credibility of the Church’s claims.
First of all, we need to emphasize that truth is truth, and the ultimate credibility of truth comes from its connection to reality, rather than who practices it.
Still, it makes a huge difference if people see members of their own race represented in the Church, including in its leadership. Diversity bolsters the claim we made above that the Church is truly a worldwide institution that answers universal human problems.
People often accuse the Church of being an essentially European institution that shouldn’t bother evangelizing people in other parts of the world. Yet Christianity is thriving in Africa, Asia, and South America and the hierarchy has been slowly becoming a more accurate reflection of the makeup of the Church.
It helps us practice charity.
The Church embraces all races. Sadly, though, some of its members throughout history have forgotten their call to charity. Because of our wounded nature, people have often reacted negatively against anyone who is different from them.
Promoting racial diversity in the Church helps us overcome Satan’s attempt to divide us. God calls all people into the unity of His one true Church, and our behavior should reflect this truth.
Let’s celebrate racial diversity from a truly Catholic perspective by seeing the face of Christ in everyone and helping each other accomplish our ultimate goal — getting to heaven.