AMERICA/UNITED STATES – Against polarization and division: empower individuals, families, and communities to be bridgebuilders across perspectives

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Washington – The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has launched a new initiative today aimed at addressing polarization in society. Based on Pope Francis’ call in his encyclical, Fratelli Tutti for “a better kind of politics, one truly at the service of the common good” .
The new initiative, Civilize It: A Better Kind of Politics asks Catholics to respond to this invitation with charity, clarity, and creativity.
The initiative, which many dioceses throughout the country will be participating in locally, will aid efforts of evangelization to shine the light of our faith on the often challenging area of politics, informs the note sent to Fides. At CivilizeIt.org, participants can take a pledge and access supporting materials including an examination of conscience, short reflections, prayers, and a guide that will empower individuals, families, and communities to be bridgebuilders across perspectives. Based on chapters 5 and 6 of Fratelli Tutti and on other reflections by the Holy Father, the materials aim to help Catholics and others of good will to cultivate a culture of encounter, root perspectives in truth, justice and solidarity, and seek collaborative action for the common good.
Archbishop Paul S. Coakley of Oklahoma City, and chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development reflected on the importance of the initiative at this time: “Civilize It: A Better Kind of Politics aims to equip Catholics to address the division and polarization in society that are at times also reflected in the Church. Such division among the faithful compromises the Church’s ability to effectively witness to the life and dignity of the human person in the family, parish, workplace, and political sphere. In Fratelli Tutti, Pope Francis offers a different way forward based on Gospel values, justice and truth. My hope is that this initiative will assist all of us as we seek to ‘become neighbors to all,’ as the Holy Father calls us to do, and take up the challenges of encounter, dialogue, truth-seeking, and creative problem-solving, in order that all Catholics can work together for the common good”.
The polarization in US society has pushed the Bishops, among other things, to address the problem in the November 2020 session of their Assembly , where among the most debated topics, there was also that of racism in its various forms. “Civilize It: A Better Kind of Politics builds on an initiative of a similar name implemented during the 2019-20 election season that sought to help Catholics model love of neighbor by honoring human dignity through civil conversation.
More information on the initiative may be found on CivilizeIt.org.