Episcopal Message Resurfaces (Part 2)

by | Jul 17, 2022 | Formation, Reflections

Highlights from Part 2 of a truly prophetic forgotten document published by the U.S. Catholic Bishops more than a quarter-century ago. (See Part 1)

Them they wrote…

The Catholic community is in a position to respond to violence and the threat of violence in our society with new commitment and creativity.  More of the same is not sufficient.  Business as usual is not enough.

The quotes below remind us of assets, and provide a framework and broad-based advocacy strategy.

Our assets

  • the example and teaching of Jesus Christ;
  • the biblical values of respect for life, peace, justice, and community;
  • our teaching on human life and human dignity, on right and wrong, on family and work, on justice and peace, on rights and responsibilities;
  • our tradition of prayer, sacraments, and contemplation which can lead to a disarmament of the heart;
  • commitment to marriage and family life, to support responsible parenthood, and to help parents in providing their children the values to live full lives;
  • presence in most neighborhoods — our parishes and schools, hospitals and social services are sources of life and hope in places of violence and fear;
  • ethical framework that calls us to practice and promote virtue, responsibility, forgiveness, generosity, concern for others, social justice, and economic fairness;
  • capacity for advocacy that cuts across the false choices in national debate — jails or jobs, personal or social responsibility, better values or better policies;
  • consistent ethic of life which remains the surest foundation for our life together.

A Framework for Action

Much is being done, but more is required.  Our community is called to reorganize our priorities and recommit our resources to confront the violence in our midst.  This challenge will have many dimensions including:

  • the call to pray for peace in our hearts and our world; the ability to listen — to hear the pain, anger and frustration that comes with and from violence
  • the duty to examine our own attitudes and actions for how they contribute to or diminish violence in our society;
  • the call to help people confront the violence in our hearts and lives
  • the capacity to build on existing efforts and the strengths of our community: the work of parishes, schools, Catholic Charities, and Campaign for Human Development, etc.
  • efforts to hold major institutions accountable, including government, the media and the criminal justice system

An advocacy strategy

Advocacy strategy which moves beyond the often-empty rhetoric of national debate, including:

  • confronting the violence of abortion
  • curbing the easy availability of deadly weapons
  • supporting community approaches to crime prevention and law enforcement, including community policing, neighborhood partnerships with police and greater citizen involvement
  • pursuing swift and effective justice without vengeance
  • support for efforts to attack root causes of crime and violence — including poverty, substance abuse, lack of opportunity, racism, and family disintegration
  • promoting more personal responsibility and broader social responsibility in our policies and programs
  • building bridges and promoting solidarity across racial and economic lines
  • pursuing economic justice, especially employment
  • working for legislation that empowers parents to choose and afford schools that reflect their values
  • overcoming the tragedy of family violence and confronting all forms of violence against women
  • promoting education, research, and training in nonviolence
  • responding to victims of violence, hearing their anguish, and defending their dignity
  • strengthening families by putting the needs of children and families first in our national priorities
  • continuing to work for global disarmament, including curbs on arms sales, and a ban on the export of land mines

We Can Be More Than We Are

Our faith and facilities can be beacons of hope and safety for those seeking refuge from violent streets and abusive homes.  People can become peacemakers in their homes and communities.  Parishes can organize mentoring programs for teen parents. 

What part of this challenge will you focus on?

Originally posted on Vincentian Mindwalk