As we move towards the general elections I know early voting has started. Here are a couple more tools for you in additions to the ones I’ve posted.
The first is the PowerPoint I used October 14 at the request of university students from Catholic Campus Ministry at Central Washington University on the American Catholic Bishops’ document “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship” (FCFC). It’s a kind of roadmap that speaks of the entire spectrum of Catholic social teaching in the United States. While stressing the preeminent issues of life such as abortion, it also notes the “equally sacred” lives of those who live in the shadows of what Pope Francis would term a “throwaway” culture. I’m happy to Zoom in and do for parish groups what I did last week at CWU.
Forming Consciences – Bishop’s Presentation at CWU October 14, 2020
But I also want to uplift and link over the fine presentation Fr. Peter Steele recently gave in Wenatchee. From my own emails I sometimes have the impression that some in the Church don’t like the roadmap the bishops lay out in their teaching. Fr. Peter Steele focuses on the question of how to have difficult conversations on topics, included political topics. He suggests that one challenge is that although we speak from the fullness of truth in the Catholic Church, often those with whom we talk are simply not convinced.
The talk, given October 14 at St. Joseph Parish, centers on a couple of key insights. One comes from the medieval scholastics such as St. Thomas Aquinas that “everything is received according to the mode of the receiver.” In a nutshell, it’s not enough to know the truth. We have to know the daily reality and interior terrain of those to whom we speak. We must get inside their skin to know how they are receiving the truth of what we may want to offer from the Church. Like Fr. Peter Steele, it seems to me this is an under-appreciated aspect so important in evangelization — especially when it comes to difficult issues we care about such as abortion. Might we be farther behind because we haven’t considered the condition of those we are trying to reach? That might be a question we want to ask ourselves.
The second key insight is from St. John Henry Newman and the famous Latin saying he cites in his writings: “Cor ad cor loquitor.” The English translation of “heart speaking to heart” misses the rhyme scheme of the Latin original. But it does get at the fact that having intellectual arguments is not enough. How do we speak to the heart? How do we reveal — as Pope St. John Paul II would say — the “Beauty of Truth”?
I highly recommend taking 75 minutes to look at this video as a starting point for a deeper conversation on evangelization.
Be assured of my prayers for you as you form your consciences in light of Church teaching.
+Bishop Joseph Tyson