The Jesuit Conference of Canada and the United States, a prominent section of Catholic priests, announced that they will raise $100 million to pay reparations to descendants of former slaves once owned by the order.
The $100 million will fund a foundation run in-part by the descendants, reports The New York Times, adding that the effort is the largest of its kind from the Roman Catholic Church. Georgetown Jesuits, along with other Catholic priests, relied on the enslavement of Black people to establish, grow and sustain their orders for well over a century.
The Georgetown Jesuits were part of one of the biggest recorded slave sales in 1838 when nearly 300 men, women, and children were bargained away by the Catholic order.
“This is an opportunity for Jesuits to begin a very serious process of truth and reconciliation,” the Rev. Timothy P. Kesicki, president of the Jesuit Conference of Canada and the US, told reporters. “Our shameful history of Jesuit slaveholding in the United States has been taken off the dusty shelf, and it can never be put back.”
The announcement by the Jesuit Catholic priests comes as the idea of reparations is reportedly being discussed at all levels and in the aftermath of a highly charged year of protests and activism concerning racial justice. Indeed, Congress recently considered legislation to address the history of slavery in the US, including an apology to descendants of slaves and financial compensation.
The foundation that will benefit from the $100 million pledge is a partnership with a group of decedents who reportedly discovered that their ancestors had been sold to the Jesuit order in the 1800s through a series of New York Times articles on the matter.
$15 million has already been placed in the fund, according to The Times, and the Jesuit Conference has hired a fundraising firm to help secure the additional money in three to five years.
While $100 million is reportedly one of the largest amounts pledged to descendants of slaves, it falls far short of the $1 billion that leaders of the group had asked for from the Jesuits. Leaders told The New York Times that the $1 billion is now a long-term goal, having secured a “pathway forward.”
Other advocates expressed concerns about how the funds would be used.
“[M]y concern is whether or not this foundation is going to benefit descendants or those who are in control of the foundation,” Sandra Green Thomas, the founding president of the GU272 Descendants Association told New York Times reporters.
What do you think of the Catholic priests’ pledge to give $100 million to descendants of the former slaves of the Jesuit order? Is it enough? Tell us your thoughts in the comment section below.
Read About More Class Action Lawsuits & Class Action Settlements:
Please note: Top Class Actions is not a settlement administrator or law firm. Top Class Actions is a legal news source that reports on class action lawsuits, class action settlements, drug injury lawsuits and product liability lawsuits. Top Class Actions does not process claims and we cannot advise you on the status of any class action settlement claim. You must contact the settlement administrator or your attorney for any updates regarding your claim status, claim form or questions about when payments are expected to be mailed out.