Civic Virtues, Civil Dialogue and Vincentian Goals

by | Jul 15, 2018 | Formation, Reflections

If civic dialogue about the needs of the poor and marginalized is going to move forward, helping societies to overcome partisan divides and long-standing mistrust is key. Virtues point the way.

Virtues for Dialogue

In a recent article by Robert A Boisture in the Stanford Social Innovation Review is coming to grips with reality in the United States. It’s needed on a global scale.

Boisture says

If we are to arrest and ultimately reverse this decline, civil society leaders and organizations must first recognize that civil society, like every other major sector of American life, has contributed in important ways to this polarizing dynamic. Too many of us and our organizations have sorted ourselves out along ideological lines, live and work within ideological bubbles, and galvanize our supporters by demonizing those on the other side.

True Vincentians are not that way. True Vincentians live from the experience of those they meet oppressed by poverty. They breathe the Catholic Social tradition and teaching. The listen to Frédéric, Vincent, Louise, Elizabeth and others. Then remember that, “God demands first the heart.” Listen to Boisture again:

We must courageously step up to both dimensions of this spiritual and moral challenge—the challenge of opening our hearts in love to all of our fellow Americans and the challenge of coming together to create a shared moral vision….

He suggests a particular set of questions, whose answers are virtuous actions:

  • Do we recognize the sacred dignity and worth of every person?
  • Do we bring to civic life a wholehearted commitment to the greater good?
  • Do we admit that we are fallible and must therefore be open to having those with whom we disagree change our minds?
  • Do we embrace principled compromise as an essential civic virtue?
  • Do we recognize that we are all in this together and that in the long run, none of us can flourish unless all of us flourish?

Dignity, Solidarity, Humility, Simplicity, Collaboration. They sound Catholic… and Vincentian.

Read the full article here: