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February 2017 
Director's Reflections

As a new U.S. president and his Cabinet take office, it is important for Christians to know where we stand on important social issues and why so we can take action on behalf of the common good. Our reflection this month is written by Sister Kathy Nolan, OP, Director of the Office of Peace, Justice, and the Integrity of Creation.


Sister Sara 
Director of Vocations
"Truth" by Simon Doggett is licensed under CC by 2.0
There is No Such Thing as 'Post-Truth' for Christians

Recently Oxford Dictionaries announced that its 2016 word of the year is "post-truth." Oxford defines post-truth as "an adjective relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief." As one writer suggests, the key here is "post," as it refers to a "time in which the specified concept has become unimportant and irrelevant." Perhaps another way of saying this is that post-truth describes a condition in which truth is no longer really important at all.

I find this quite alarming. The recent presidential election campaign was, in fact, a vivid example of how truth has lost and "fake news" and distortion of truth has won the day. George Orwell described such a time as this in the following way: "In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is revolutionary."

As a Christian and a Dominican, seeking truth is a life-long pursuit. It is impossible to think that as individuals or as a society we would abandon truth-telling and embrace deceit and obfuscation as the norm. For Christians, Gospel values provide us with the norms for living and the Gospel is revolutionary. Jesus says of himself, "I am the way, the truth, and the life" ( John 14:6). Following Jesus requires a wholehearted pursuit of truth in our personal and public lives.

Take some time and reflect on the place of truth in your life: Does personal or group bias cloud your vision, causing you to see only your own advantage in a situation while blinding you to the needs of others who are different from you? Do you avoid truth through denial, suppression of painful emotions, busyness, or overconsumption? Or are you emotionally honest and willing to acknowledge the truth of a situation, even when it is painful? Are you willing to act on the truth and live with integrity? As Jesus states, "The truth will set you free" (John 8:32).

Dominican Quote

"We must love them both, those whose opinions we share and those whose opinions we reject, for both have labored in the search for truth, and both have helped us in finding it."

- Thomas Aquinas


"My brothers and sisters, forgive me for my arrogance and my indifference.
Forgive me for my greed of always wanting newer, bigger, and better things.
Forgive me for not doing my part to change the unjust systems
that keep you suffering and impoverished.
I offer you my promise to become more aware of your situation
and to change my lifestyle as I work for the transformation of our world."

Joyce Rupp, selection from "Apology to My Brothers and Sisters in Developing Countries," 
Out of the Ordinary, 102.

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