Let me say that this post in no way is a political statement. As I tell those who ask, I am as independent as can be. As a Lay Ecclesial Minister I don’t like alienating parishioners or others by making political endorsements or statements which is easier said then done as so many things today are seen as political rather then spiritual.
That being said, Christ is and always has been my only king. I do not judge others or where their conscience has led them. But what I have observed as of late is a hopeful trend of individuals calling out for more respect and common decency.
Is common decency a Christian practice? Perhaps not in so many words, but essentially decency is a Christian practice. Encountering each person, recognizing that they carry within the dignity given by God. This includes the unborn as much as the migrant. This includes serious policy decisions as much as refraining from judging others and treating others with respect.
The beginning of decency is a listening heart. The capacity to listen is powerful. When we listen, we not only empower others, but we empower the empathy and love God has gifted to us. Surely all of us are sinners, which likely means each of us have been injured in some way. To bridge the divide and to begin to heal, we share our experiences, we share our hearts. This is the gift of encounter that Pope Francis keeps speaking of. It is the act of reconciliation which is why our Blessed Lord left for us the beautiful and merciful Sacrament of Reconciliation.
How do we become good listeners? It begins with listening so as to understand rather then to respond. This can be done by putting what you hear into your own words and repeat it back to ensure you understand, or repeat what you hear in the form of a short question. Most of the time to really listen we have to get out of the way, it requires a certain humility and concern for others that can be difficult at first.
Fundamentally speaking calling for all people to recognize the God given dignity in each person shouldn’t be a political statement. Disagreeing with ideas is important and fundamental to a free and just society which serves the common good of all. But Ad Hominem attacks (personal attacks) only serve to cheapen what would otherwise be fruitful dialogue, something both parties take part in. A change back to dialogue requires deep soulful listening. A change back to dialogue requires reconciliation and forgiveness.
 Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) #1929-1931
Husband & father of four, graduate from Quincy University and currently a grad student at Franciscan University. Director of Faith Formation & Youth Ministry for All Saints Parish since 2011.