Hordes of protesters have flooded the streets over burning concerns crying to be addressed. Will racism continue to divide society? Will those protecting law and order become more neighborly with those they protect? Will African Americans and Hispanics continue to die from COVID-19 at a higher rate?
Will the realization that immigrants enrich our country grow? Will access to heath care increase for all? Will the less advantaged receive more opportunities for an education? Will the rich share their wealth more generously with the destitute? Will the word “politician” connote humble selfless service and wisdom? Will the media strike a better balance between inspirational news and the provocative and sensational?
Creating a forum on issues like the ones above is one of the positive results of a protest march. When conducted with dignity, protests contain powerful means for the governed and those who govern to live true democracy.
To be effective, reasonable expectations are needed for protests to succeed. Jim Forest, in his memoir, “Writing Straight With Crooked Lines,” reflected on a three-day retreat given by Thomas Merton on the spiritual roots of protest.
Forest wrote: “Merton forced us to consider that protest, if it is to have any hope of constructive impact on others, has to be undertaken not only for good reason but with great care for those who feel accused and judged by acts of protest.
“What is needed, Merton argued, was genuine sympathy and compassion for those who don’t understand or who object to one’s protest, who feel threatened and angered by it, who even regard the protester as a traitor.
“After all, what protest at its best aims at is not just to make a dissenting noise but to help others think freshly about our social order and the self-destructive direction in which we are going. The protester needs to remember that no one is converted by anger, self-righteousness, contempt or hatred. …
“If it is to be transformative, protest needs to be animated by love, not love in the sentimental sense but in the sober biblical sense of the word. Hence Christ’s insistence on love of enemies.”
People bending their knee during the marches was touching. It would be equally touching if it caused everyone to bend a knee to God.
Join the CatholicPhilly.com family
CatholicPhilly.com works to strengthen the connections between people, families and communities every day by delivering the news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live.
By your donation in any amount, you and hundreds of other people become part of our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community and sustain CatholicPhilly.com as your trusted news source. Thank you in advance!
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103