Civilize It and Retreating

Civilize It and Retreating

Yesterday, I posted the following on my personal Facebook wall:
“The US Catholic Bishops just put out a paper on how to speak nicely to each other as our nation gears up for the elections.
How did we get to this point??? SMH…
Oh, and sign the pledge that you’ll be nice: “Civilize It”
A USCCB initiative on their We Are Salt & Light website.”
So, I got a little snarky and already screwed my pledge.  But, I want to follow up with a few comments:
  • I find it very frustrating that we, as a society, cannot have a dialog/discussion/debate without fear that we’ll hurt someone’s feelings or that someone will call us haters because we do not think alike.
  • We have always been called to speak truth in charity (thank you, Bishop Persico, for taking this as your motto). Nothing has changed. We will always have obnoxious people who do not know how to dialog. A website from the USCCB will not change that.
  • We have lost the art of ‘admonishing the sinner’. Especially in this day and age of ‘you do you’ and the school of relativism.
  • Catechists and youth ministry teams need to allow for organic (or topic night) conversations on the tough issues – ex: SSA, IVF, pornography, legalization of drugs, co-habitation. Even simpler topics such as cheating, lying, bullying, and talking-back can be training ground for how to hold conversations, learning solid communication skills.
  • Finally, I wonder if ‘safe rooms’ where young people have been shielded from those who think differently have contributed to our damaged society.  For, how can you learn to dialog when you’re surrounded by only those who hold the same beliefs.

While I absolutely agree with everything on the USCCB’s We Are Salt & Light website (prayers, reflections, etc.), I believe that it’s just written fluff if we do not put it into practice and start allowing difficult discussions in a parish settings… specifically with our young people. (note: “parish” because public schools do not allow for an adult to facilitate discussion from a Christian world view.)

Do we really need this framework from the USCCB which someone must have been paid a ton of money to create or have we always had a framework from Jesus Christ, “Love one another as I have loved you.”

Personally, I’m done engaging in political discussions.

Online and in real life, more than one person has wrongly stereotyped me as being ‘pro-birth’ or caring only about ridding the world of abortion. I’ve felt bullied by adults who have made assumptions about the truth and depth of my concerns; speaking aggressively so that I cannot explain myself. It would be one thing if these were people in a secular workplace or social arena, but they have been in parish and diocesan settings by fellow Catholic Christians.

I know there are people who will encourage me to get back into the fray, to pray for strength and not stay silent.  But no, I’ll leave those discussions to folks with thicker skins.

Maybe I’m just tired.

Or, just maybe…

Could it be possible that God is calling me and others to pray for those who have the courage to enter the debate/discussion/dialog?  I’m reminded of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI (remember him?)  It’s quite possible that God called him into the silence so that he might be the spiritually formidable David needed in this Goliath age of society.

Pray for me as I pray for you.

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