The events of this week at the US Capitol have left me, like many, shaken. The takeover of the capitol was something I only believed happened in “banana republics”, not in a country claiming to be built on the foundation of reason and persuasion as the method to settle disputes. I have attempted to write my reaction to these events many times, only to find it difficult to do so.
As I write this on the morning after the elections in the United States, the air is filled with uncertainty. And being so divided in the United States, makes this time of uncertainty very stressful.
I grew up in one of the whitest states in the United States. In fact, I believe for much of my childhood it was the whitest state in the United States. As I think back over my school days, the only person of color I remember in my school was a foreign exchange student from South Africa. Interestingly, it was in the days when South Africa still had the Apartheid system. He was colored, not black, because his ancestors came from India.
The common good is God; it is achieved through ordering all actions with his divine governance and providence, each thing in its own proper place and with its own proper significance.
I have to admit that I was quite surprised by the vitriol I heard when President Trump was acquitted by the Senate. After all, was there anyone who really believed that some other result was even possible?
Even if we are not big basketball fans, we can appreciate the talent of Kobe Bryant. During his twenty-year NBA career, he was an all-star 18 times. He won five NBA Championships. For much of his career, Kobe was “the man.”
The Catholic world has a real problem. Somehow it thinks it is just like the secular press, and it does not need to be clear and honest. That it can “report” using its own ideology as fact, rather than reporting events that actually happened. You may have heard that sixty-nine bishops voted against the notion that abortion was a preeminent issue. But the motion voted on was not about removing the word “preeminent”. It was about whether all of paragraph 101 of Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation Gaudete et Exsultate should be included, instead of the few sentences quoted. And sixty-nine bishops voted to include the whole paragraph. Listen to my commentary here.
There are events that can shake one to the core. On Tuesday, one former student was shot by police. Another was a homicide victim. I knew them both. I taught them. I served two parishes there. It is one thing to hear about a shooting far away. It is quite another when the people are known. When something like this happens, how is it that people get through it? I’m suggesting with each other and with God.
I have been dreading the upcoming election season in the United States. I worry that the horrible way we are treating each other will get worse. As I consider a world where there is too much violence, where too often we retreat into our tribes and groups, that once again we will fail to be civil. And it is not just society. There is incivility in the Church, in fact, just about everywhere. What would happen if we made a decision to listen, to dialogue, and to get to know others we do not agree with? Let’s give it a try.