Pope Francis in his reworked peace prayer(yesterday’s post) says that if communication does not build communion we need to recognize the latent evil in it. In the picture above, my mother nurses my little sister Patsy as I look on in love. No words are needed. But imagine this scene in public with some offended stranger chastising my mother for nursing, as has happened with someone I knew. Rather than deal with their own discomfort about a natural way to feed a hungry baby, some people speak disdainfully about it.
So often in voicing our opinion or our discomfort, we do so by condemning another point of view. “How could anyone have voted for Trump?” “How could anyone have voted for Clinton?” “Can you believe…(insert your own opinion)? How could anyone be that stupid?” Unfortunately, the United States is in the middle of an attack mode, with all sorts of people attacking others. Democracies are founded on the ideal that different opinions are healthy and lead to creative solutions. Dictatorships thrive on a single acceptable opinion.
We probably wouldn’t be quick to label such communications as containing latent evil. But if we consider that evil separates and love unites, it is clear that the Pope has a valid point. Each condemnation tears down. Each attempt to listen builds up. I am attempting to submit my words to the test he puts forward. I am trying(sometimes without success) to recognize contempt in my words and to stop using them to destroy. No matter the discourse raging around me, I can try to use another approach.