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U’ States: Bishops initiate program to encourage more civil political life

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The U.S. Bishops Conference on Sept. 7 launched a new initiative that aims to address the political polarization and division across the nation.

The initiative, titled “Civilize It: A Better Kind of Politics” runs through the website CivilizeIt.org that provides Catholics with resources to be bridge builders in their communities for those with different political perspectives.

The initiative also asks Catholics to take a pledge of charity, clarity and creativity.

Charity is described on the initiative’s website as upholding the dignity of every person through words and actions and listening to understand other people’s experiences. Clarity includes assessing one’s own beliefs to ensure they’re “rooted in truth,” forming the conscience through prayer and being open to a process of dialogue. Creativity, meanwhile, is a commitment to bridge building and finding creative solutions with those that have different beliefs.

“Civilize It: A Better Kind of Politics’ aims to equip Catholics to address the division and polarization in society that are at times also reflected in the Church,” Archbishop Paul Coakley of Oklahoma City, chairman of the USCCB Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development said in a statement. “Such division among the faithful compromises the Church’s ability to effectively witness to the life and dignity of the human person in the family.”

The initiative is inspired by Pope Francis’s Fratelli Tutti encyclical, which serves as a basis for the materials that aim to “cultivate a culture of encounter, root perspectives in truth, justice and solidarity, and seek collaborative action for the common good,” states a USCCB press release.

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