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Faith in the Public Square: A California Conversation

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March 15, 2018

“The walls which divide us can be broken down only if we are prepared to listen and learn from one another,” said Pope Francis in his 2014 World Communication’s Day Message.   “We need to resolve our differences through forms of dialogue which help us grow in understanding and mutual respect.”

This weekend the Catholic Legislative Network is inviting Catholics to engage in just such a dialogue as we hold our Faith in the Public Square conversation in conjunction with the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress.

Around forty thousand Catholics are expected in Anaheim this weekend at the “RE Congress” which draws people from around the world.  Fantastic liturgies, workshops on all phases of education and keynotes from renowned Catholic authors fill the three days.

The California Catholic Conference (CCC) staff will be there promoting membership in the Catholic Legislative Network (Booth #281) and leading the three-day discussion among fellow Catholics about the civic issues prominent in our state and nation today.  Conference staff will also be available to promote and recruit prison and jail chaplains (Booth #248.)

With so many Catholics gathering in one place, the purpose of the Conversation is to dialogue with each other on the important issues facing our state and nation.  As Faithful Citizenship tells us, Catholics are “politically homeless.”  We do not fit into one category but rather work to promote the values of life and dignity into our civic actions.

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI said it well when he told Catholics our faith should inform and shape our political and civic actions.  The Faith in the Public Square conversation is not about political parties or elected officials.  It is about how we as Catholics can instill the values of life and dignity into our society.

Please help create a fruitful and educational conversation through your respectful participation throughout the weekend.

The discussion will begin on Friday (March 16) with the first poll:  “Do you have a question for the Executive Director of the California Catholic Conference you would like to see answered on our Facebook Live broadcast?”

CCC Executive Director Edward “Ned” Dolejsi will answer the questions during a Facebook Live broadcast on Saturday morning (March 17) at 10:15.

At noon, another Facebook Live event will feature Karen Clifton, executive director of Catholics Mobilizing Network for Ending the Use of the Death Penalty.   The interview will take place during a lunchtime protest that shines a spotlight on the need to end the use of the death penalty and promote restorative justice.

Some of the other polling topics during the weekend include:

  • What can we do as individuals do to promote respect and civility in our public discourse?
  • What is the most important policy conversation that should be going on in Sacramento today?
  • Which of these issues facing California most concerns you?  (Please rank in order of importance.)
  • What type of social justice activities does your parish organize?
  • Are you for or against the death penalty?  Why?
  • With which of the following statements concerning the death penalty do you most agree?
  • Do you support comprehensive immigration reform and why or why not?

Beginning Friday, Network subscribers will be able to submit questions for the Mr. Dolejsi by visiting OR by texting CACATHCONF to 22333.  Polls will rotate throughout the weekend.  Check Facebook or Twitter to see which question is active.  There are no limits to responses to the open-ended questions but the responses will be moderated for appropriateness, respectfulness and decorum.