RELIGION

Racism denounced at Vatican-sponsored inequality conference

  • Trena Turner, pastor of the non-denominational Victory in Praise Church in Stockton, opens a four-day conference on economic inequality in Modesto, Calif., Thursday, Feb. 16, 2017. The Vatican is bringing its conversation on economic inequality to California's Central Valley. It comes at a time when the world is grappling with an America-first agenda and to a place where the economy is poor and relies on migrant labor. The four-day conference is an offshoot of global meetings launched by Pope Francis nearly three years ago to explore the "economy of exclusion." (AP Photo/Janie Har)

    Trena Turner, pastor of the non-denominational Victory in Praise Church in Stockton, opens a four-day conference on economic inequality in Modesto, Calif., Thursday, Feb. 16, 2017. The Vatican is bringing its conversation on economic inequality to California's Central Valley. It comes at a time when the world is grappling with an America-first agenda and to a place where the economy is poor and relies on migrant labor. The four-day conference is an offshoot of global meetings launched by Pope Francis nearly three years ago to explore the "economy of exclusion." (AP Photo/Janie Har)  (The Associated Press)

  • Sonia Sawhney, a graphic facilitator from San Francisco, draws during the panel on racism at a Vatican-sponsored meeting Friday, Feb. 17, 2017, in Modesto, Calif. Speakers at a Vatican-sponsored conference in Northern California have called on the Roman Catholic Church to acknowledge its own racism and urged those attending to fight against oppression. More than 600 clergy and social justice activists are meeting in Modesto for the conference on economic inequality that also included a session Friday on racism in the United States. (AP Photo/Janie Har)

    Sonia Sawhney, a graphic facilitator from San Francisco, draws during the panel on racism at a Vatican-sponsored meeting Friday, Feb. 17, 2017, in Modesto, Calif. Speakers at a Vatican-sponsored conference in Northern California have called on the Roman Catholic Church to acknowledge its own racism and urged those attending to fight against oppression. More than 600 clergy and social justice activists are meeting in Modesto for the conference on economic inequality that also included a session Friday on racism in the United States. (AP Photo/Janie Har)  (The Associated Press)

  • Sonia Sawhney, a graphic facilitator from San Francisco, draws during the panel on racism at a Vatican-sponsored meeting Friday, Feb. 17, 2017, in Modesto, Calif. Speakers at a Vatican-sponsored conference in Northern California have called on the Roman Catholic Church to acknowledge its own racism and urged those attending to fight against oppression. More than 600 clergy and social justice activists are meeting in Modesto for the conference on economic inequality that also included a session Friday on racism in the United States. (AP Photo/Janie Har)

    Sonia Sawhney, a graphic facilitator from San Francisco, draws during the panel on racism at a Vatican-sponsored meeting Friday, Feb. 17, 2017, in Modesto, Calif. Speakers at a Vatican-sponsored conference in Northern California have called on the Roman Catholic Church to acknowledge its own racism and urged those attending to fight against oppression. More than 600 clergy and social justice activists are meeting in Modesto for the conference on economic inequality that also included a session Friday on racism in the United States. (AP Photo/Janie Har)  (The Associated Press)

Speakers at a Vatican-sponsored conference in Northern California have called on the Catholic church to acknowledge its own racism and urged those attending to fight against oppression.

Bishop Shelton Fabre of the Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux in Louisiana says the church should use its influence to eradicate racism "from the human heart."

More than 600 clergy and social justice activists are meeting in the small city of Modesto in California's agricultural heartland for a four-day conference on economic inequality.

The gathering comes as the world grapples with the impact of President Donald Trump's efforts to change U.S. immigration policy.

Pope Francis welcomed the group Thursday night with a letter in which he said "no people is criminal and no religion is terrorist."

Migration is due for discussion Friday afternoon.