A message to our community ahead of Election Day 2020
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
1 Corinthians 13: 4-7
Good evening Parents, Students, Faculty and Staff,
Ahead of Election Day 2020, we write this message to our community – Jesuit High School Sacramento can be a place that models a healthy form of discourse and allows everyone to feel safe and welcome regardless of the election results. We are all learning how to navigate a world that is challenging us in new ways seemingly every week. At Jesuit Sacramento, the most important part as you navigate through this process is that the process itself helps improve your capacity to be more thoughtful, more charitable, more considerate, and more understanding.
To help our students, faculty, and staff engage in dialogue consistent with the guidelines from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Jesuit Conference, we offer the following, taken from the USCCB’s Civilize It Campaign. These guidelines are designed to clarify our expectations. We desire to see these guidelines modeled by all members of the Jesuit High School Sacramento Community:
1. Civility: To recognize the human dignity of those with whom I disagree, treat others with respect, and rise above attacks when directed at me.
➔ No ad hominem attacks (an attack directed against a person rather than the position they are maintaining).
2. Clarity: To root your political viewpoints in the Gospel and a well-formed conscience, which involves prayer, conversation, study, and listening. You should stand up for your convictions and speak out when you witness language that disparages others’ dignity while also listening and, most important seeking to understand others’ experiences.
➔ Instead of condemning someone’s position or political stance, you should encourage each other to view your positions through the lens of human dignity and Catholic Social Teaching.
3. Compassion: To encounter others with a tone and posture, which affirms that you honor others’ dignity and invites others to do the same. Presume others’ best intentions and listen to their stories with empathy. Strive to understand before seeking to be understood.
➔ We must remember that our goal as members of the Jesuit High School community is to help each other develop a well-formed conscience instead of telling each other that “I am right” and/or “you are wrong.”
The above guidance does not mean that the classroom or other student activities cannot be a forum to engage in political discussions. Some discussions may, in fact, be a critical element of Catholic Social Teaching and part of the fabric of a Jesuit Catholic school. We can advance these discussions in a civilized manner that seeks to elevate each other’s understanding of the issues. We can distinguish between engaging in a discussion of current events and their significance and a discussion that tears each other down or further separates any of us from each other or God’s Kingdom. We also know these discussions will not end on Election Day, and we will, of course, continue engaging in civilized discussions as a general way of life.
It is always a good reminder, for all of us, that we never really know what each other brings to school each day. To further help us understand how to engage with each other, we would ask that you look at the document included below entitled “The 7 Principles of Constructive Dialogue.” These seven principles are used in Jesuit schools throughout the Jesuits West Province and are a great additional resource for your consideration.
Please know we are here to support you and to help you deepen your understanding of the world we live in. All members of the school leadership are available to you for questions or guidance.
Thank you and God Bless,
Dean Theodule, Dr. Wood, Dr. Desmond, and Mr. O’Connor