Prophecy is traditionally about proclamation, dialogue about shared receptivity.
Many Catholics have spent decades (particularly once the sex abuse scandals emerged) feeling that prophecy was the urgent need.
No sentient adult in the USA, including Catholics, can ignore the hyper-confrontational style that thrives when each side believes it has The Answer and the other is misguided, just plain wrong.
Are prophets prone to confrontation? Are people who dialogue prone to losing their own truth in the effort to find common ground?
Sister Theresa Kane in 1980 spoke of prophecy in a more nuanced way: as a call to speak truth IN LOVE. Sister Laurie Brink in 2007 said “real dialogue doesn’t have winners or losers; it’s a way that we both get stretched."
Can prophets let themselves be stretched without diluting their truth? Can people in dialogue speak risky truth without sabotaging respect and openness?
LCWR's refusal to spend the past year in protest and confrontation - LCWR's decision to spend the past year seeking dialogue with Archbishop Sartain and his colleagues - this was outright counter-cultural. And prophetic.
Yes, that's what I believe: LCWR's choice of dialogue was in itself prophetic.
And now we have a pope who calls up the atheist (childhood Catholic) founder of Italy's largest newspaper and invites him to Santa Marta for a wide-ranging, two-way conversation. A dialogue.
Again: this dialogue is itself prophetic. A declaration of Truth that we've been missing for a long time.
Genuinely curious about each other, the pope and the editor share their deep beliefs about life. And they listen carefully to each other. They meet as human beings, talking about their childhoods, recommending movies the other would like. They meet as people on opposite ends of one spectrum - belief in God - yet mutually respectful and easily recognizing that both seek a greater Good.
LCWR and Pope Francis are showing us that prophecy and dialogue are NOT opposites. They can be the same thing. Speaking truth IN LOVE can be the same act as healing dialogue.
Pope Francis is giving the whole church, maybe the whole world, the powerful, hopeful, magnetic experience of the Spirit IN MOTION NOW. May he see that LCWR, more quietly, does the same thing.