(RNS) — Talking as a dyed-in-the-wool Chicago Cubs fan, probably the most tough issues my religion teaches me is that even St. Louis Cardinals followers are made within the picture and likeness of God.
How a lot tougher is it for us to recollect the identical about these when the difficulty goes a lot deeper. Typically we fail to consider the dignity of these with whom we’re having a tough dialog — even when the disagreement is over the dignity of the human particular person and what it means.
Fairly often, our failure to see the opposite totally goes properly past shedding sight of the dignity of our perceived opponent; generally their dignity is the very factor explicitly being questioned or attacked. Descriptions of fellow Catholics as “monstrous” or “diabolical” are, sadly, a dime a dozen in what passes for Catholic discourse at this time in america.
Although concern and anger can blind us to our personal biases and minimize us off from an actual trade with another person, there could also be good causes to be profoundly indignant with a fellow Catholic. Our disappointment with one other can and ought to be totally honored, even whereas we acknowledge that the basic actuality of the particular person in entrance of us is the place to begin for any critical trade.
It doesn’t matter what they assume, how they deal with us or the place their baseball loyalties lie, they’re made within the picture and likeness of God. And this calls for one thing of us, no matter how uncomfortable that truth could also be.
One factor ought to give us confidence going into these conditions: The church has been coping with these sorts of challenges for two,000 years and, with the assistance of the Holy Spirit, has developed an enormous arsenal of religious and sensible instruments. Some are so simple as they’re highly effective.
When caught in a tough trade, I keep in mind the nice present given to me by the Focolare Motion, a worldwide group selling understanding, of their exhortation: “Be the primary to like.”
This framing instantly performs on my aggressive nature — I all the time need to be first! Nevertheless it additionally opens up area for real dialogue throughout distinction. Loving first is essential as a result of it’s what we owe anybody who bears the picture and likeness of God. In a really actual sense, after we select to scale back, assault and demean the dignity of the particular person in entrance of us, we select to assault and demean God’s picture as properly.
That’s true no matter which human being we fail to like. However fairly often the sufferer is a fellow baptized Catholic. Once more, the up to date world fairly often trains us to see fellow Catholics first as allies or foes in relation to secular political objectives. Is that this a MAGA particular person, or are they a “social justice warrior”? Is that this particular person an LGBTQ+ ally, or are they “homophobic”?
As disciples of Jesus, we’re known as to permit the grace of Christ and of his church to form us into those that are the primary to like our perceived opponent. That may occur solely after we see them by way of a really totally different sort of lens. Earlier than we determine an individual in some other method, we should first see them as a member of the family — a brother or sister in Christ — whom we’re known as to like earlier than we’re known as to do anything.
This, to say the least, is just not rewarded within the secular world and particularly not on social media, each of which obscure the dignity of these we’re taught to dismiss as merely “the opposite facet.” In each political and digital discourse (and particularly in digital discourse about politics), our perceived opponents are depersonalized such that we’re nearly by no means confronted with their humanity.
As Catholics we must always know higher, however fairly often we don’t do higher. Particularly on social media, our first response is usually to assault, disparage and outline by opposition after we should display respect and even reverence for the shared humanity of our perceived opponents.
A method to withstand the world’s practices right here is to be tremendous intentional about following Christ’s command to genuinely pray for them. It could really feel (quickly) good to “personal the libs/cons” — to get the excessive fives and bro-love from “your facet.” Nevertheless it ought to go with out saying that the very factor that’s implied in “proudly owning” somebody doesn’t begin with their dignity. It nearly by no means arrives at a mutual sense of shared dignity arising from a Gospel-centered love.
Even after we handle to assume explicitly about our dialog companions as fellow members of the family within the church, the challenges don’t magically disappear. In some methods they develop into extra advanced. The truth that “familiarity breeds contempt” is one purpose there are such a lot of challenges in household life.
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That is actually the case with our Catholic household. We might really feel anger and even rage, making it tough to think about how an trade would possibly go higher. Or we might not need to validate somebody who holds views we abhor by partaking with them.
However, once more, they’re dignified in the identical method “our facet” is, whether or not we select to acknowledge it or not. They’re dignified in probably the most profound method attainable: They bear the divine picture and are temples of the Holy Spirit. That is a necessary and elementary fact of the Catholic religion.
(This column is tailored from “One Church: How to Rekindle Trust, Negotiate Difference, and Reclaim Catholic Unity” by Charles C. Camosy and is reprinted with permission of the writer, Ave Maria Press.