Choose love and compassion, not division, after election, archbishop says

  • Written by Northwest Catholic
  • Published in Local

SEATTLE – Today is Election Day, but the days to come are also days of decision, an opportunity “to recognize the good in people and bring more love, joy and unity into the world,” Archbishop Paul D. Etienne said in a November 3 letter.

“Our nation faces challenges and difficulties beyond what we ever imagined,” the archbishop said, but each person has “the opportunity to shape the world we live in.”

“The election results will inevitably evoke bitterness, anger, hatred, and unrest,” he said. “You can feel this way, or you can choose differently and focus on compassion and love.”

“I invite each one of us to defeat divisiveness with understanding, rancor with amicability, hatred with compassion, mistrust with greater willingness to listen,” he said. “Let us counter the downward spiral with renewed efforts to respect the diversity and dignity of each of our neighbors.”

The archbishop was “greatly inspired” by Pope Francis’ recent encyclical Fratelli Tutti, in which the pope wrote: “In this our time, by acknowledging the dignity of each human person, we can contribute to the rebirth of a universal aspiration to fraternity.”

“It is this universal call for unity that I hope we not only hear but act upon,” Archbishop Etienne said.

Today, people have lost the focus on each other, he said, becoming “isolated and unwilling to have authentic encounters and dialog with those who are different from us. … We must remember we are all brothers and sisters. Our diversity is what makes our community, our nation, and our world beautiful.”

He encouraged people to take time to know each other, see how everyone is interconnected and take positive actions instead of letting frustrations fester.

“You can recognize that divisiveness is not the answer for our future,” he said. “Love is the answer. Love for our neighbors — for each other — is the answer. … This is the only way we’ll rebuild our communities and our nation.”

Tomorrow everyone has a choice, he said.

“I pray to our Father that we will choose love and help spread the love of our Lord in the world. God has only one family — the human family — and each of us has a role to play in strengthening these bonds to build a better society.”

Read the full text of Archbishop Etienne’s letter below.