“Will the Catholic Church in the United States enter the new millennium as a church of promise? . . . Or will it become a church on the defensive, torn by dissension?” asked Cardinal Joseph Bernardin of Chicago in 1996. In Called to Be Catholic: Church in the Time of Peril, Bernardin said the answer “depends on whether the church can reverse the polarization that inhibits discussion and cripples leadership.” After almost 25 years, how have we done?Each of us in our own communities—at staff meetings, in choir rehearsals, over coffee and donuts—can choose polarization or dialogue. Click To Tweet
The church is not just the bishops, and church politics aren’t confined to the national level. Each of us in our own communities—at staff meetings, in choir rehearsals, over coffee and donuts—can choose polarization or dialogue. In his statement, Cardinal Bernardin gave us some principles to help us choose wisely:
- Recognize that no one group or viewpoint has the complete solution, and no portion in the church is a saving remnant. We need each other in order to be faithful.
- Always presume that others are acting in good faith.
- Stop labeling or demonizing them.
- Seek the strong points of their argument.
- And never impugn another’s love of the church.
Today’s Gospel acclamation verse reminds us that God in Christ “was entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.” What are we doing with that message?