Theology elective studies racial injustice

Drake Decker ’22

This fall the Theology Department added a new, culturally forward senior elective, “Racial Justice & The Catholic Church,” taught by Fr. Jeff Johnson SJ, the President of Strake Jesuit.

Fr. Johnson wanted to have a Theology class that not only informs students about the prevalence of racial injustice in our society, but also about the Church’s views and attempts to address it. 

“Catholic Social Teaching has a lot to offer” said Fr. Johnson,

Fr. Johnson’s eagerness to learn about the problem and to do something about it also motivated him to launch the course.

“I wanted to know more about how to work against racism,” Fr. Johnson said, “and heal the wounds of it.”

The course has emphasized lectures, Fr. Johnson pointed out, but there have been excellent discussions as well. According to Fr. Johnson, the students have offered “a wide range of opinions, beliefs, and thoughts.” 

At the same time, the course maintained its focus to study both the teachings of the Catholic Church about racial injustice among individuals and society. 

The course included a semester project to help students to increase their awareness of the underlying–without our realizing it–racism in our daily lives. 

How have students benefited from the course?

“It has been an amazing experience of growth, education, and brotherhood of students of varying races and identities,” Zion Dixon said, a student in the class. “Fr. Johnson has taught us so much, initiated very thoughtful discussions, and created a space where we could make the most out of this experience.”