The following letter was sent by the Leadership Conference of Women Religious during its annual 2019 conference to President Trump on August 14. This letter, affirmed by the 663 LCWR members gathered in assembly in Scottsdale, Arizona, called upon the president to end all divisive rhetoric. Our Sisters Christa Franzer and Delouise Menges were present in the conference body that unanimously approved this letter.
We live in a world increasingly marked by hatred, brutality, and violent conflict. We see our own country threatened by increasing disparities in economic, political, and social power…. These are times that require exceptional insight and courageous leadership.
In the face of these unprecedented challenges, we are outraged and heart-broken when our political leaders appeal to our basest instincts and stoke the fires of fear that threaten to tear the fabric of our nation apart. We cannot, we will not, let the voices of hatred and fear carry the day.
Mr. President, we beseech you to end all divisive and polarizing rhetoric. We implore you to never use language that disrespects, dehumanizes, or demonizes others. We expect our president, and all who serve this nation as leaders, to be always mindful of the common good and the dignity of each and every person. You hold a position that has the potential to inspire the best of every one of us and we ask you to use this unique status to bring about healing and never seek to create division.
The people of this pluralistic nation form a diverse polity characterized by a wide variety of beliefs, experiences, and interests….Those differences are our greatest strength; those disagreements are opportunities for growth. It is how we handle those inevitable conflicts that spells the difference between building the common good and destroying the bonds that bind this nation.
In his address to the US Congress in 2015, Pope Francis invited our political leaders to promote respect for the dignity of every human person and to renew their commitment to a spirit of cooperation….
As Catholic sisters, our ministries frequently require us to be in the heart of situations of discord and division, and thus we understand the great complexities and challenges that are inherent in the work of reconciliation. We too have to reach deep within ourselves to bring forth the grace and strength that are needed to not give in to the temptation of labeling or judging those who are different from us….We sometimes come up short, but pledge to do better each day because we are aware of the moral authority we, as sisters, bear. We ask you, Mr. President, if you would consider a similar examination of the practice of your own moral authority.
We promise to never cease raising our voices on behalf of the common good and praying for the healing of this country.
The Members of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious
The Leadership Conference of Women Religious is a national organization of the leaders of religious congregations in the United States. One of their goals is to stand for Social Justice in response to the needs of time. “LCWR claims the moral imperative of the Gospel and pledges its collective voice, resources and power in solidarity with others to establish economic justice, abolish modern-day slavery, ensure immigrant rights, promote nonviolence and protect Earth and its biosphere. They ask the blessing of God on these initiatives, placing their actions with the great activity of God for the good of the world.” (From LCWR Call for 2015-2022)