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On the Importance of Acknowledging Serious Disagreements

The other day, I drove to Baltimore to deliver a Christmas present to my brother. It was the beginning of a reconciliation with my brother. He opened the door and stepped back in surprise. Despite Covid --we both had masks on, we hugged. It was the beginning. There's a whole road to go, but it began again by simply talking about ordinary things. It will take more trips, from both of us for it to be something more, but it’s a reminder to me, that all friendships work better when they’re real, when they require effort, and when we recognize, the absence of that relationship is a wound in our hearts and the whole body of Christ. False friendship or pseudo unity pretends we do not have serious differences or issues or personal history. Saint Peter and Saint Paul weren't buds, but they did feel they could tell each other what they thought. One imagines heart to hearts with Saint Jerome or Saint James weren't warm or fuzzy either, but they were authentic, and that's the goal. Cultivating authentic fellowship requires we acknowledge even given our past and our differences, we’re all seeking to be on the same narrow path to Christ. It will take work, it will take willing it, it will also take humility and ongoing effort. This conference is the voiced hope of a beginning. The fiefdoms and fractures in the Catholic community are in part the consequences of our own fallen nature and the weaknesses that come from this sort of platform. Part of how we perhaps can appeal to each other is by presence, by having sufficient relationship with each other to be heard. Blogging and writing is almost always an exclusive and solitary thing, and that isolation can easily lead to error or to presumption of our own understanding superseding others. We have a long tradition of Catholics of having a broad array of voices. However, as evangelizers, there’s a danger in the online method. "A Good Discourse" is a conference designed to help restart or begin creating a Catholic online community of writers/bloggers/media evangelizers. That's the big takeaway I hope we have from this conference as well. This is about opening ears and hearts and recognizing, sometimes the ears and hearts that need opening are our own. We hope you will come. Sherry Antonetti, author of The Book of Helen, freelancer and blogger @Chocolate For Your Brain!

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