An Encouraging Word — It’s time to pull together

Like a householder who brings forth from his storeroom things new and old. Matthew 13:52

Father J. Ronald Knott
Father J. Ronald Knott

Are you as tired of all the extremists in politics and the church as I am? Instead of each side acknowledging that the other side has something to say, it seems both sides have dug their heels in with a “my way or the highway” attitude.

In politics, one party champions individual responsibility, while the other party champions communal responsibility. While these divergent views serve to complete each other, you would think it was merely a matter of one or the other. We do need to teach personal responsibility, but we also have social and communal responsibilities.

In the church, one extreme emphasizes our past so much that you would think God quit being active in the world in the 1950s, while the other extreme emphasizes today so much you would think we have no history.

When we were renovating our Cathedral in the 1980s, I remember being pulled in two directions. We had one group who wanted to “put it back like it was,” while another group wanted another modern renovation. The “put it back like it was” people wanted to pretend that we had no future, while the “another modern renovation” people wanted to pretend we had no history.

We ignored the extremists and chose “the sane center.” We chose as our mantra the words quoted above, bringing together the best of the old and the best of the new.

Today in politics, both in our country and in the church, it seems that both extremes are “tempted to subordinate an even-handed concern for the truth to the demands of a party spirit in which every action and statement is evaluated according to whether it supports one cause or the other. Opposed parties seek to discredit their opponents, often by acrimonious attacks that are uncharitable and even unjust,” said Cardinal Avery Dulles.

Pope Paul VI, in his famous ecumenical document Ecclesiam Suam, talked about what became known as “the asceticism of dialogue.”  He said that for unity, we have to first of all be clear about what is essential and what is not essential. Most fights are fights over trivial things that people try to make essential.

Second, we must avoid arrogance, barbed words and bitterness. We must have individual patience with contradictions, exhibit an inclination toward generosity and magnanimity and accept the fact that divergent views often serve to complete each other and contain some truth.

Third, we must come to a consensus on non-essentials that requires individual non-attachment to one’s preferences and points of view, engage in cooperative discernment and accept individual co-responsibility for directions to be taken and choices made and a workable and reasonable, even if imperfect, structure for the sake of unity.

Neither our church nor our country can afford all this insane, destructive infighting. This is the time to pull together, rather than cutting each other’s legs off.

Tags from the story
The Record
Written By
The Record
More from The Record
Legisladores católicos instados a apoyar reforma de inmigración como tema pro vida
Por Catholic News Service WASHINGTON (CNS) — Un grupo de líderes católicos...
Read More
0 replies on “An Encouraging Word — It’s time to pull together”