News
Jesuit Father Matt Malone, left, with John Carr, moderator of the event.
Downloads

Georgetown Panel “Seeks the Common Good in a Time of Polarization”
By Doris Yu

November 10, 2014 — Despite polarization in the Catholic church, “the goal of Christian discipleship is not to be right but to be holy," said Jesuit Father Matt Malone, editor in chief of America magazine, at a recent panel discussion at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. Hosted by the Initiative on Catholic Social Thought and Public Life, the event was titled “Seeking the Common Good in a Time of Polarization: Pope Francis, Catholic Social Thought, and American Public Life.” 

In addition to Fr. Malone, the panel included several other leaders of influential Catholic publications: Paul Baumann, editor of Commonweal magazine; R.R. Reno, editor of First Things; Caitlin Hendel, president and CEO of National Catholic Reporter; and Greg Erlandson, president and publisher of Our Sunday Visitor. The conversation was moderated by John Carr, director of the Initiative on Catholic Social Thought and Public Life and America magazine’s Washington correspondent. Opening remarks were made by Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, Archbishop Emeritus of Washington, a key supporter of the Initiative.

 

The moderator did not mince words in introducing the topic. “Tonight, we want to understand, how did so much of the polarization in political life begin to come into the church?” Carr asked. “How do we, as Catholics, find a common way to pursue the common good? What unites us? What divides us? And is Pope Francis — as our new leader — uniting us or dividing us in a new way?”

“Covering the Catholic church is not that different from covering the U.S. Congress,” said Hendel. “There are two sides, and you are always trying to figure out whose side is worth covering and what the real story is. You find both sides are trying to own that story.”

Fr. Malone reminded the audience that, even in the midst of partisan strife, all things should contribute to the greater glory of God. “What we have in common is our commitment to God and Jesus Christ. I think what is crucially important is that the source of our unity is not a set of shared ideals,” he said. “When we understand that for Christians, truth is a person — Jesus Christ, the way, the truth and the life — then, we see our conversation as a way to holiness.”

Jesuit Father Matt Malone, left, with John Carr, moderator of the event.

The discussion continued, addressing subjects including: responsibility for the polarization of the church; the duty of clarifying the issues and maintaining a robust discussion; the panelists’ roles in respecting their publications’ traditions while challenging their readership; how the digital medium affects Catholic discourse; and the importance of agreeing on the pertinence of each issue up for debate.

Baumann summed up the collaborative spirit of the panel, in spite of the broad range of political opinions represented. “I think what [Commonweal] magazine has felt strongly all along is that none of us has a corner on the truth here,” he said. “I think we need to work together to come to the truth.”

Learn more about the Georgetown University Initiative on Catholic Social Thought and Public Life at catholicsocialthought.georgetown.edu.





Recent News

February 19, 2019 — The Society of Jesus has four new core priorities that will guide its mission for the next 10 years, Jesuit Superior General Father Arturo Sosa announced Tuesday.

Indra Acharya was born in a refugee camp in Nepal, was educated by Jesuit Refugee Service and later attended Georgetown University.

February 5, 2019 — Today, on the 28th anniversary of his death, the cause for the beatification and canonization of Fr. Pedro Arrupe, SJ, opens.

Br. John McLane, SJ, beloved teacher and consultor at Saint Joseph’s University and a therapist for the mentally disabled, has died at 81.

World Youth Day brought together young adults from all over the world, especially the global Ignatian family who attended MAGIS 2019 in Central America.

When students filed into their first day of school this fall at the oldest Catholic elementary school in Washington, D.C., Holy Trinity School, they began not just another regular school year, but the 200th anniversary of the school’s founding.

Fr. Charles Currie, SJ, President of Wheeling Jesuit and Xavier Universities and the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities, has died at 88.

view all news

Search news

Publications

JESUITS Magazine: Fall/Winter 2018

JESUITS Magazine: Summer 2018

JESUITS Magazine: Spring 2018



Ignatius House Retreat Center
For more than 50 years, the Ignatius House Retreat Center has been open to individuals of all faiths seeking a closer relationship with God.