Dear Reader: A Call for Civil Discourse

People talking

My dad loved to debate. When my sisters and I were growing up, he often would challenge us to take something we felt certain about and look at it from all possible sides and perspectives. For instance, if one of us began complaining about something a friend did, he would invite us to stop and consider things from that person’s perspective. He did this with politics, faith, issues with family and friends, and many other situations. 

For him, that was the best way to learn something. You may end up in the very same place you originally were, he would tell us, but at least you would be well-versed in the other pieces to the puzzle. As an avid political junkie, that was one of the things that troubled him during the later years of his life—too much yelling and shouting, too little discourse. I can’t imagine what he would think about the political climate now. 

That climate is exactly what author Stephen Copeland looks at in his article “Building Peace in a Nation Divided” here. He shows that St. Francis can offer a good model for us on how to engage with each other. Patrick Carolan also writes about issues facing us with the upcoming election and the need “to encourage an environment of informed, engaged, and peaceful participation in the electoral process. This is especially true for Franciscans,” he writes in his article “I’d Like to Say: The Time to Protect Elections Is Now” on page 40. 

Regardless of our political leanings, we must all remember that we need each other to move forward. St. Francis and the Franciscan spirit can help along the way. 


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