During a visit to Washington, D.C., over the weekend, Bishop Kevin Farrell of the Dallas Diocese criticized petty partisanship and polarizing rhetoric that he said makes it seem like "'I Did It My Way' has replaced the national anthem."
The visiting bishop also urged government officials to remove obstacles to welcoming immigrants.
Farrell gave the homily Sunday at the annual Red Mass at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle.
This year's Mass before the Supreme Court's new term turned into an appeal to the two deadlocked branches of government as the federal government shutdown entered its second week.
A majority of the court, including Chief Justice John Roberts, attended Sunday's Mass, as did members of Congress and the White House chief of staff.
Here are excerpts from Farrell’s prepared remarks:
- “We believe in the dignity of each and every human being made in the image and likeness of God. We may disagree. But there can be no place for derision or smugness. Especially at this time of particular polarization, we need to be reminded that we Catholics have every right to register what we believe in the public square and do it with pride and conviction. However, in a pluralistic society, we also need to be respectful of those who do not agree with or follow our teachings."
- “If dialogue means anything, it means not only that we take another seriously but it means that we revere the other as a fellow human being with gifts and talents from God. If honest and respectful dialogue means anything, it means that we need to strike a balance in our words and rhetoric so that conviction should never become stridency and saying things with commitment should never become caricaturing anyone else’s positions or beliefs."
- “E pluribus unum means just that. It does not mean one size fits all. And it does not mean 'I Did It My Way' has replaced the national anthem.”
- “Petty partisanship and ever-politicizing rhetoric should have no place at all when men and women of goodwill come together to serve the common good.”
- “When we see and revere in the other person of a different color or creed or ethnic background the image and likeness of God, then we together can move forward as God’s pilgrims on this good earth.
- “When we remove obstacles in the way of welcoming the stranger in our midst, then we truly reflect the best of what this country stands for as a nation of immigrants.
- “When we respect differences of opinion in dialogue, we respect and revere the differences that provide variety and give texture to this great country of ours, made so by others having welcomed our forefathers and mothers."
- “When we recognize and revere the many cultures that comprise this great nation and the many languages, we speak as we seek to be one in mind and heart, then we live the gospel of good news with all peoples, to the ends of the earth.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.