Timely issues of polarization, civil discourse, and Catholic social teaching addressed
John Coleman, SJ, associate pastor for St. Ignatius Church in San Francisco and former Loyola Marymount University Casassa Professor of Social Values, visited the Sacred Heart Schools, Atherton (SHS) campus recently as guest speaker for the annual Sr. Nancy Morris Faith in Public Life lecture series.
Coleman spoke about “polarization, civil discourse, and Catholic social teaching”—a timely issue in an era in which polarization is increasing in society, politics, and among Catholics in the United States.
Coleman’s data pulled on a wealth of sources and scholarship, citing academic publications, books, and articles that offer solutions for diffusing and dismantling the deep political, social, and economic divide that characterizes the current climate. National and global discourse, he impassioned, must be “more real and effective,” and Catholic social teaching can help point the way by emphasizing effort to find common ground, to be mindful of “those deeply wounded,“ and to recognize the importance of “naming the wounds and beginning to heal.”
Coleman concluded by sharing a prayer printed in The Christian Science Monitor, an entreaty encouraging all to set aside differences.
’That they may be one’ prayed Jesus to his Father.
God is here in the midst of ‘us’ and there in the midst of ‘them.’
May we be conscious of this all-embracing Love, comforting and inspiring all
To feel, opening all eyes to behold, our unity as brothers and sisters,
Children of our Father-Mother God, Divine Love where ‘us’ and ‘them’ are one!
Now in its third year, the Sr. Nancy Morris Faith in Public Life series honors Nancy Morris, RSCJ, whose steadfast commitment to Catholic education and service to Schools of the Sacred Heart exceeds several decades. Prior featured speakers in the series include Congresswoman Anna Eshoo (D-Palo Alto), who spoke on the role of education in achieving the common good in our society, and the Most Rev. Robert McElroy, Bishop of the San Diego Diocese, who spoke on “The Theology of Pope Francis” and its impact worldwide.
Dr. James Everitt, a member of the Sacred Heart Schools, Atherton (SHS) leadership team who helped establish the lecture series, praised the community benefit of this timely and topical opportunity.
“Importantly, this lecture enables adult members of the SHS family to hear from a variety of thought leaders whose experiences navigating and applying strong principles of faith in a challenging and often contentious public arena are truly inspiring,” he said. “Further, the generous Q&A period after each lecture means attendees can begin, and continue, to engage in meaningful conversations about how our faith informs our participation in the larger community.”