Letters to Roman Catholic
Churches, clergy and officers in cities where the Sons of Confederate
Veterans (SCV) and the United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC) are
planning to have national conventions are at these links organized by
This letter was sent to Pope
Francis. There is an error in the letter. The Bishop of Richmond did
reply, but only to say that he didn't know of any church in his diocese
hosting either the SCV or UDC. In its essentials the letter is correct,
the Roman Catholic leaders contacted in the United States of America have
avoided the issues raised by my letters. It is too early as of
6/9/2014 to expect a reply. The letter was sent by certified mail.
I am writing you regarding the involvement of the Catholic Church in
America with neo-Confederate groups. I enclose a couple pictures of
large Confederate battle flags displayed at the Cathedral of the
Immaculate Conception in Mobile, Alabama, United States of America.
I am an investigative researcher of the neo-Confederate movement and
have been published by university presses and by peer reviewed
academic journals as well as the online publication Black
Commentator. My resume is enclosed and is available online at
http://templeofdemocracy.com/curriculum-vitae.html. My website is not
sectarian but refers to a 19th century metaphor regarding
the American Republic.
I enclose EXCEL tables of churches hosting the United Daughters of
the Confederacy (UDC) and the Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV)
along with bar graphs of hosting churches by denomination for the
years 1990 to 2014. As you can see in the combined graph for the UDC
and SCV, the Catholic Church is no. 2 in hosting these two groups.
The EXCEL tables and bar graphs are also online at
At this web page are additional links to web pages detailing my
correspondence with churches regarding their enabling of
neo-Confederate groups and their replies if any.
I have not yet published a write up on the UDC. However, for the
historical record regarding the UDC and race I refer you to the
and suggest you use the search term “daughters.” You will find in
the UDC’s own writings their opposition to the mid-20th
century civil rights movement, and earlier in the 20th
century you will find in their writings and publications their
support for the KKK and white supremacy.
For documentation of the UDC’s racism in the 21st
century, I enclose three articles from the UDC Magazine. The
UDC currently runs a Red Shirt Shrine to glorify a violent white
supremacist group that existed in 19th century South
Carolina and of which they are proud of as documented in the
June/July 2001 UDC Magazine article, pages 23, 24, and the
cover of their magazine.
In the Dec. 2012 UDC Magazine, pages 11-14, is an appalling
racist article in which the infamous post-Civil War Black Codes of
the former Confederate states are defended, African American men are
represented have been potential rapists, the 14th
Amendment to the Constitution is argued to be misguided, and freed
African Americans are asserted to have been incompetent to be
citizens. The article asserts, “Newly liberated Negroes were not
prepared for their freedom…”
In the Nov. 2007 UDC Magazine on page 15 is an article
recommending that the reader purchase the book “Southern by the
Grace of God,” by Michael Andrew Grissom. This white supremacist
book praises the Ku Klux Klan of the 19th and 20th
century as well as other violent white supremacist groups, praises a
lynching in Oklahoma, recommends pro-Ku Klux Klan media such as the
movie “Birth of a Nation” and the writings of Thomas Dixon. It
recommends that the reader join the Council of Conservative Citizens
The author of the article Retta D. Tindall, calls this book along
with other books “treasures” and that “Mr. Grissom wrote this book
for four reasons: to offer a firm understanding of our heritage, to
instill pride in being Southern, to pursue the elements that
characterize the South, and to rally Southerners to defend and
preserve their unique heritage.” Grissom’s book makes it very clear
that he feels that violent white supremacist groups like the KKK and
others are part of Southern heritage, and Tindal recommends this
book and others be given to the reader’s “child or a grandchild.”
These are but three contemporary examples of the UDC’s racism.
Finally the SCV and the UDC exist to glorify the Confederacy a
government created to perpetuate slavery and white supremacy. This
is in itself a reason to not enable them or lend them any resources.
When the Catholic Church lends the use of their building to a
neo-Confederate group, especially when the building, such as a
church, is historically or architecturally prestigious, additionally
when a church is a consecrated space, there is an implied
endorsement that these groups are legitimate enough that the
buildings would be given for their use. The prestige of the building
and the Catholic Church is given to the neo-Confederate group.
I ask that the Catholic Church not lend the use of their buildings
or other facilities to neo-Confederate groups.
I have written to the bishops and the archbishops whose dioceses and
archdioceses respectively encompass where the 2014, 2015, and 2016
SCV and UDC conventions are scheduled: North Charleston, South
Carolina; Richmond, Virginia; and Dallas, Texas; of which all
locations are in the United States of America. I wrote Most Rev.
Robert E. Guglielmone, Bishop of Charleston Diocese; Most Rev.
Wilton D. Gregory, Archbishop of Atlanta; Most Rev. Francis Xavier
DiLorenzo, Bishop of Richmond Diocese; Most Rev. William E. Lori,
Archbishop of Baltimore; Most Rev. Kevin J. Ferrell Bishop of
Dallas; and Most Rev. Gustavo Garcia-Siller, Archbishop of San
Antonio. The correspondence is online at
I enclose copies of my correspondence.
Only Rev. Gustavo Garcia-Siller replied. He informed me that “I am
not the bishop of Dallas, and do not have pastorship of those
parishes there.” Not being an expert on the organization of the
Catholic Church is he saying that he could not have any input into
what should be the practice of parishes in Dallas? I did conclude
that he was going to do nothing.
Even regarding San Antonio his letter evades my question. He quotes
a section of Gaudium et Spes, 29, which is against
discrimination and says that my information will be passed along,
but he doesn’t say whether he finds the Catholic Church hosting the
SCV a practice that would be against the Gaudium et Spes or a
simple statement that they wouldn’t host the SCV. I feel his letter
is an evasion of my request.
I find the lack of responses by the bishops & archbishops and the
reply by Bishop Garcia-Siller to be puzzling. Visiting the websites
of the Catholic dioceses & archdioceses and their bishops &
archbishops a person would find that they have clear outspoken
positions on many topics.
I am concerned with mainstream organizations enabling the
neo-Confederate movement. After Black Commentator published
my paper on the SCV I was able to get major corporations to stop
supporting them through an affinity purchasing group. It took about
eight days from when the corporations received the letters I wrote
to the program being stopped. Black Commentator published the
story of this campaign which is also available through a free guest
link, which is also in my online resume, at
After this initial success I decided to then ask American churches
that enable neo-Confederate groups to stop doing so. Most American
churches proclaim that they are anti-racist and express great
concern about racism unlike corporations whose concern with racism
is usually a paragraph in their personnel handbooks. I was
optimistic and thought that this would be an easy task. I regret to
say that so far the temples of Mammon were much more willing to give
up neo-Confederacy than the churches of Christ.
If the Catholic Church could stop lending the use of their
facilities to neo-Confederate groups besides not enabling
neo-Confederate groups, they could set an example to other
denominations regarding hosting neo-Confederate groups. So again I
ask that the Catholic Church not lend the use of their facilities to
neo-Confederate groups and using a slogan currently popular in
America to “walk the talk” of Gaudium et Spes.
Edward H. Sebesta
P.S. I enclose documentation of St. Jerome’s in Houston, Texas
hosting regular meetings of the UDC. I wrote them. No reply.