Catholic priests pledge $100 million to descendants of former slaves


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.  

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  • Trent Davies April 11, 2021

    Please add my name I am sure I qualify i am also worried about who is really going to benefit from this I just hope the money goes the the people who are really supposed to benefit from this

  • Vernetta West April 8, 2021

    Please add my name to the Settlement, I am sure I qualify as a family member of a Slave.

  • Vernetta West April 8, 2021

    I am an African American female. I worked since I was 13 years old. All my life I worked hard, just like my Ancestors. I usually worked two jobs most of my working life.. Now I am retired and have a limited income. I am unable to work at this time. I never had a vacation or traveled out of state or the Country. It would be nice if I could take a trip some where for enjoyment. I have contribute lots of tax money to this country and have birth two adult age children that are currently working. My children have low paying jobs and cannot help me at this time. It would be nice if money was issued to care for the poor aging Senior Citizens that need Home and Car repairs. I also need Dental implants. I don’t know were I can get the money from. Both my parents was from the South Born and raised in Pinewood, South Carolina. I remember picking Cotton as a Child on my grandparent’s Land. Therefore, I am sure they qualify as children of Slaves.

  • NBuddy March 21, 2021

    In regards too the response [M]y only concern is who the foundation is going to benefit?

    I’d love too meet you guys I think I have something that can help.

  • Herbert Carrington March 17, 2021

    Please add my name AFRICAN AMERICANS suffer everyday from the HORRORS of SLAVERY. Because my last name is not my AFRICAN name. Unlike people who can trace their heritage my heritage has been destroyed by 200 years of my enslaved ANCESTORS who were given last names of SLAVE OWNERS

    • Slapyomama March 26, 2021

      So change your name to McGuillicudy or Bongo Bongo or whatever you like. Nobody is standing in your way. Do you understand how a family tree works? None of us have the names of all our ancestors. At the most, one or two of hundreds of names is passed on. Pick one and stop whinging.

  • IDELLA MITCHELL March 17, 2021

    Please include me in this action. I am an African-American and suffer now almost as bad my ancestors. Please include me in this suit.

  • Lonestarstated March 17, 2021

    Why don’t the raise money to help the real slaves of modern day slavery? It’s ok God sees everything.. Everything. Lives are ruined loved ones gone in something not everyone calls a game. Not everyone is like that. It’s kinda sad but that’s life I guess

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