Last year Catholic Charities of Louisville launched the Be Golden campaign, inviting all throughout the Archdiocese to “Do to others what you would have them do to you.” This is a rallying cry to unite under this message and practice messages of unity, civility, and empathy every day.
As we enter into another major political campaign, the U.S. Bishops have launched the Civilize It campaign, which is a perfect extension of Be Golden. As Catholics, we have a long tradition of engagement in the political process as a means of putting our faith into action. We are called to bring the best of ourselves and our faith to the public square—and yet today, many shy away from such involvement because our national and local conversations are filled with vitriol and harsh language, often directed at people themselves.
When personal attacks replace honest debate, no one wins. This kind of attack, no matter the reason, only serves to further divide our communities. As Catholics, we must model a better way. We invite you to join the Civilize It campaign by taking the pledge below as a way to promote civility, love our neighbors, and build community.
We have shared some practical suggestion to implement this below. We invite you to share other ideas. Send your suggestions and questions to Deacon Lucio Caruso at Catholic Charities, firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Launch an effort to invite parishioners to sign the pledge for civility. Email and bulletin language to invite parishioners can be found on the next page. The pledge can be found at civilizeit.org.
- Introduce the Prayer for Civility and the pledge at key parish meetings and invite parishioners to participate.
- Periodically pray the Prayer for Civility at parish liturgies.
- Invite your social outreach and/or respect life committees to host a community or parish event around civility and love of neighbor. Encourage people to join Civilize It and pledge civility, clarity, and compassion this election year. Let us know how it goes! Use this two-question reflection with those in your faith community and share the responses with us; your parish may be featured in future promotions of Civilize It, as well as in The Record.
- Why are you pledging to Civilize It this election year?
- What is one concrete step you will take to show dignity beyond the debate?
- Invite your formation committee to hold sessions to review the USCCB Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship document and educate parishioners about conscience formation. This attachment describes this process of conscience formation and provides some questions for reflection. Video and print resources that provide a summary of Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship also have just been approved by the U.S. Bishops and will be available at usccb.org.