I am not sure I can remember a moment in my lifetime when there has been so much political polarization about who we are and where we are going as a country. Despite our mantra at Catholic Charities, “We are Switzerland,” it is hard to stay out of it all completely, as parts of the current debate on things such as immigration, health care and governmental budget priorities touch every single one of us in some way or another.
Even at Catholic Charities, we have to accept that what is happening or what might happen in the world of politics affects the decisions we need to make about how to run an organization that interacts with everyone – our clients who are the poorest of the poor, those who are more stable, and our volunteers and supporters as well. We are constantly reminded that we need to demonstrate civility and respect to all people, from wealthy to poor, conservative to liberal, Republican to Democrat…and everything in between. We are all God’s children with good hearts and strong souls! No person being served lunch at the House of Charity has ever asked or cared about how a volunteer who was serving that lunch voted. We are all brothers and sisters in Christ! Period.
With 70 million Catholics in the U.S., our American Church has over 70 million reactions to what we’ve seen and heard on the news in these past months. And, therefore, there are 70 million lessons for each of us in all of this. Taking these lessons in, one at a time, heart to heart, with prayer, united as one Catholic family, might just be the best way to find unity and a path for the road ahead.
We don’t need to agree on everything. Heck, come to a Catholic Charities leadership team meeting sometime – you will see a room full of wonderful, intelligent, incredible people who don’t always agree on things! That diversity of perspective, opinion, and experience is precisely what makes us strong! But we do agree on the most important things – respect, collaboration, compassion and justice. With that agreement, there is nothing we cannot do!
As we head into the most important season of our faith, walking through the Passion and the Resurrection of our Lord, Jesus Christ, I am touched by the recent words of Pope Francis on all of this. He said:
”It can be said that today we do not live in an age of change but in a change of age. Therefore the situations we are living in today pose new challenges, which for us at times are difficult to understand. Our times require that we live problems as challenges and not as obstacles: the Lord is active and at work in the world. Therefore you must go out to the streets and to the crossroads; call all those you find. (Matthew 22.9) Above all, accompany the one who remained at the side of the street. The lame, the maimed, the blind, the dumb.”
There is nothing we cannot accomplish as Catholics in the Diocese of Spokane if we work together in heart and soul and faith. This Easter, I am so thankful for each and every one of you who volunteer for us, pray for us, support us, advocate for us! Together, there is nothing we cannot do. God Bless you all!