Cinti’s Civilize the Election Campaign Makes National News
The Archdiocese of Cincinnati’s “Civilze It!” election campaign hit Catholic newspapers and web sites around the country last week, after Catholic News Service ran a story about the effort to tone down political rhetoric
Dennis Sadowski wrote the piece, which characterizes the program’s goal as “encouraging parishioners to remember that civility in politics is a virtue.”
Here’s an excerpt:
To bring the point home, the archdiocesan Catholic Social Action Office has unveiled the “Civilize It” campaign, stressing that respectful dialogue can take place among people of differing political views.
Tony Stieritz, director of Catholic social action in the archdiocese, said the campaign is about appreciating and valuing the viewpoints of others, especially during the election season.
“This is something that has been a long time coming where we felt in addition to our ongoing message of (the bishops’) ‘Faithful Citizenship’ document that we just need to be more proactive, highlighting not just what the church teaches but how do we exemplify civil behavior,” Stieritz told Catholic News Service.
He said the campaign is rooted in Pope Francis’ message to Congress in September and making it a reality in places like Cincinnati.
“What Pope Francis is trying to consistently tell us is that we’re about evangelization, we’re not on the defensive. We’ve got to see how the Holy Spirit is actively working in the other person’s life,” Stieritz explained.
The story notes that the campaign is the creation of the archdiocese’s Offices of Family and Respect Life (FARLO), New Evangelization and Communications, along with Catholic Social Action.
The campaign urges people to take a three-part pledge to be civil, clear, and compassionate in political disucssions and behavior. Its website, www.civilizeit.us, includes links to articles and documents about politics from the bishops about politics, and graphics featuring the campaign’s campaign button logo that users can download and share. Yard signs and magnets are also available.
Though Civilize It wasn’t developed as a national campaign, those involved in its creation would be glad to see it catch on in other dioceses.
“The Church is neither right or left, blue or red. The Church speaks with her own voice,” said Sean Ater, Director of the Office of New Evangelization (who inadvertently “photo bombed” the picture used on the Catholic Philly page — that’s his head on the right). “Dialogue and civility open the door for Catholics to give witness to the Truth of the Gospel.
“We have an ambitious goal of starting a grassroots movement that can be a counter to the rising tide of arguing and insults that seems to characterize and public discourse from the highest ranking politician, down to conversations around our dinner table. In that sense, we do hope other diocese pick up on this campaign and help us get the word out!”
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