CSO: Next Chapter

Written by: Dolly Pomerleau  and  Kathleen Blank Riether, Quixote Volunteer

Catholics Speak Out (CSO), since its inception has focused on dialogue between the laity and hierarchy promoting equality and justice within the Church. We are now discerning the need for a shift and expansion in CSO’s mission as the national climate of polarization in our country based on marginalizing, scapegoating and excluding certain minority groups has intensified.

Throughout last year’s election cycle, we were saddened and outraged by the use of insensitive and insulting language to objectify and deny the human dignity of people who are poor, immigrant, LGBTQI, or otherwise considered on the margins of our society. Since then, we have seen a significant rise in violence against members of minority groups. We have seen legislation and executive orders designed to roll back anti-discrimination laws and to legalize even harsher measures of exclusion.  Many have even come to believe that policies that exclude and disregard the human dignity of those on the margins are acceptable and necessary. Education, the arts, and environmental protection are also on the chopping block.

In light of these disturbing trends, CSO has a responsibility to advocate actively for the integration of Gospel values into our public discourse and policies. Vatican II produced one of the most important documents in the Church’s social tradition: Gaudium et Spes (Joy and Hope) - A Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World. It announced that our duties as God’s people are to scrutinize the signs of the times in light of the Gospel and to work to enhance human dignity and the common good. CSO believes that the times call for an urgent response in our mission to uphold the values of the Gospel in the world.

This year CSO’s first act of witnessing to God’s inclusive love through the use of inclusive language was in sending copies of The Inclusive Bible to the U.S. bishops. Our next step is to expand our mission into the public arena where we will promote the use of inclusive language in our national discourse and public policies that upholds the dignity and equality of all people. We aim to organize Catholic voices to inject the values embodied in Catholic social justice teaching into political issues such as immigration, health care, torture, and refugees.

To volunteer in the future with our CSO program, please send us an email ("Subject: CSO Volunteer") with your skills and availability. If you’re unable to volunteer but would still like to be involved in our growth please consider making a generous donation of  $35, $50, $100 or more today!  Our goal is to work steadfastly for the integration of Gospel values into our national consciousness and institutions. Please help us make this transition. We’ll provide you ample opportunities to speak truth to power.

Blessings during this Easter season.