130th Supreme Convention

CIVILITY IN OUR PUBLIC DISCOURSE

WHEREAS, the Catholic Church teaches that politics is a “difficult yet noble profession,” and the men and women who courageously dedicate themselves to it perform an act of charity; and

WHEREAS, the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that communications media must serve the common good and that its practitioners, participants, and consumers, meet the demands of “justice and charity in this domain” and ensure that its dissemination does not “offend against charity;” and

WHEREAS, a recent Knights of Columbus/Marist poll (July 2012) shows that an overwhelming majority of the citizenry believes the public discourse, particularly over political matters, presented in the mass media is marked by an increase in negativity that fails to acknowledge the dignity of its subjects; and

WHEREAS, of particular concern is the effect that this is having on younger generations: polls indicate that citizens under 35 years of age do not perceive the increase in negativity in these messages, judging the current state of affairs to be the way politics is normally practiced; and

WHEREAS, Pope Benedict XVI has called for a re-emergence of Christian leadership in politics, emphasizing the urgent need for leaders who will take action based upon their Christian principles; and

WHEREAS, on June 22, 2012, the Supreme Knight addressed the Catholic Press Association on the importance of civility in our public discourse saying that the current political environment is one “that drives away from national leadership many persons of intelligence and integrity.”

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Knights of Columbus calls on the members of the media and all public officials, to conduct themselves in a way that maintains civility in public discourse by acknowledging the inherent dignity of their audience, constituents, colleagues and all candidates for public office; and

FURTHER RESOLVED, that we encourage all Knights of Columbus and all citizens to likewise maintain civility when engaging with political candidates, members of their communities and each other; and

FURTHER RESOLVED, that we ask all Knights of Columbus and all citizens to profess their fervent desire for civil discourse by signing an online petition to that effect found at www.civilityinamerica.org; and

FURTHER RESOLVED, that we will follow the example of St. Thomas More and be true witnesses of our Catholic faith and pray for those who would wish us ill or attack us in the public square.