Fratelli Tutti 203: Building Together

This paragraph and the two that follow fall under the heading of “Building Together.” What might that mean in context of dialogue and friendship?

203. Authentic social dialogue involves the ability to respect the other’s point of view and to admit that it may include legitimate convictions and concerns.

I suppose a critic of #BLM might listen when another person notes that most high profile instances of police brutality are against people of color. 

Often enough, people want to hear of experiences and observations grounded in fact. That last point can be difficult these days with so much disinformation afloat.

Based on their identity and experience, others have a contribution to make, and it is desirable that they should articulate their positions for the sake of a more fruitful public debate. When individuals or groups are consistent in their thinking, defend their values and convictions, and develop their arguments, this surely benefits society. Yet, this can only occur to the extent that there is genuine dialogue and openness to others.

This is a key point. Is it possible to concede one’s political or ideological opponent may have something valid to offer? In the sphere of Church discussions, did we see such offerings from the US bishops in their recent discussions and voting on Eucharistic “coherence”? Do leaders give the best examples, or do we need to look elsewhere?

A key citation from the document on the Amazon:

Indeed, “in a true spirit of dialogue, we grow in our ability to grasp the significance of what others say and do, even if we cannot accept it as our own conviction. In this way, it becomes possible to be frank and open about our beliefs, while continuing to discuss, to seek points of contact, and above all, to work and struggle together”. [Querida Amazonia 108]

Can we offer everything we know, keeping nothing hidden in our concealed hands?

Public discussion, if it truly makes room for everyone and does not manipulate or conceal information, is a constant stimulus to a better grasp of the truth, or at least its more effective expression. It keeps different sectors from becoming complacent and self-centered in their outlook and their limited concerns. Let us not forget that “differences are creative; they create tension and in the resolution of tension lies humanity’s progress”.[From the film Pope Francis: A Man of His Word, by Wim Wenders (2018)]

Too often, admission of fault or doubt is seen as a weakness to be exploited in any number of possible ways. In a traffic accident, those involved are urged to admit no wrongdoing. Sensible practice in a litigious culture. But not something suitable for the Reign of God.

All citations of Fratelli Tutti (which can be found on this link) are © Copyright – Libreria Editrice Vaticana

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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