Honestly, I found Sr. Pat Farrells' invitation to dialog with our local
bishops and priests puzzling at this stage. I do think it's important
that we dialog with the local bishop, but at this stage, what do we
dialog with him about? Where do we begin with our message? What is our
Of course, I know we want more openness, accountability, opportunities
for dialog and 2-way communication, transparency, and so on. But I think
dialog is most fruitful when there is a purpose beyond these wonderful
terms. Maybe the purpose is as simple as relationship-building. When I
did public policy work, I made the focus of one of my "lobby visits"
each year simply relationship building, reminding the policymakers who I
was, what the organization stood for, so that in all of the repeated
visits throughout the year, they would remember me, and perhaps be more
willing to meet. I think relationship building for the sake of
relationship building is very, very important. But at the same time, I
feel that there needs to be something, ultimately, behind it.
(We feel and hope that the spirit of dialogue animated the May 29 conversation between Archbishop Vigano, the Papal Nuncio, and Linda and Arlene from our group about LCWR issues. Was that dialogue or relationship-building or a bit of both? Maybe, as another post says, it's the attitude behind the listening and speaking that matters most of all.)