One year ahead of the 2020 national elections, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has launched a year-long initiative that invites Catholics to model civility, love for neighbor, and respectful dialogue. Civilize It: Dignity Beyond the Debate asks Catholics to pledge civility, clarity, and compassion in their families, communities, and parishes, and call on others to do the same.
As Catholics we have a long tradition of engagement in the political process as a means of putting our faith into action. We are called to bring the best of ourselves and our faith to the public square – and yet today, many shy away from such involvement because our national and local conversations are filled with vitriol and harsh language, often directed at people themselves.
When personal attacks replace honest debate, no one wins. This kind of attack, no matter the reason, only serves to further divide our communities. As Catholics we must model a better way. We are invited to join the Civilize It campaign by taking the pledge below as a way to promote civility, love of neighbors, and to build community.
Civility: To recognize the human dignity of those with whom I disagree, treat others with respect, and rise above attacks when directed at me.
Clarity: To root my political viewpoints in the Gospel and a well formed conscience, which involves prayer, conversation, study and listening. I will stand up for my convictions and speak out when I witness language that disparages others’ dignity, while also listening and seeking to understand other’s experiences.
Compassion: To encounter others with a tone and posture which affirms that I honor the dignity of others and invests others to do the same. I will presume others’ best intentions and listen to their stories with empathy. I will strive to understand before seeking to be understood.
Is that a pledge you would be willing to take?
I am grateful to Fr. Sly for celebrating masses here this weekend. Keep our children, who will be celebrating the Sacrament of Reconciliation for the first time Wednesday, in your prayers.