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Professor Fay Botham tells the story of Perez in “How a Catholic Theology of Marriage Crushed California’s Anti-Miscegenation Law.” Sylvester Davis, an African-American, and Andrea Perez, a Hispanic woman of Mexican descent, were members of St. They became engaged and asked Father Joseph Della Torre about getting married in the church.

The couple and their priest turned to Daniel Marshall, president of the Catholic Interracial Council of Los Angeles, a group that met at St. Davis knew that a frontal attack on racism was impossible. Pope Pius XI’s 1937 encyclical, Mit Brennender Sorge, had expressly condemned eugenic theories of racial purity as a “myth of race and blood.” (MBS 17) The encyclical pleaded with Germans to remember that the “real common good ultimately takes its measure from man's nature,” and argued that any law or policy that ignores human nature will “shake the pillars on which society rests, and …

Racism and eugenic theory were deeply embedded in American law. compromise social tranquility, security and existence.” [MBS, 30] The 1910 Catholic Encyclopedia made the same point.

Interfaith and inter-ethnic unions among Caucasians have become almost commonplace, and outside of the South the occasional interracial marriage tends to be regarded as a curiosity rather than a public outrage.

The popular entertainment media reflect a growing public readiness to accept presentations portraying close personal relations between individuals of different color.

In a spring, 1947 letter to Auxiliary Bishop Joseph Mc Gucken, Marshall explained that his case against the law would rest on religious liberty, not racial equality. Governments cannot define and regulate marriage in a manner inconsistent with human nature because “human society …