The election Nov. 8 changed the makeup of the Minnesota Legislature as well as Congress and the White House. Visitor editor Joe Towalski interviewed Jason Adkins, executive director of the Minnesota Catholic Conference, the official public policy voice of the Catholic Church in Minnesota, Nov. 10 about the opportunities and challenges ahead on issues related to the common good. The interview, below, was edited for length and clarity.
Q: This election revealed a lot of divisions in this country. Donald Trump talked about bringing people together and trying to unite. What should Catholics be doing to try to heal and unite their communities and this nation?
Adkins: The election in many ways represented a rebuke to the establishment in both parties, the culture and the media. Very few people saw this coming. It wasn’t so much about the messenger as it was about the message that there’s deep resentment and anger in this country.
It starts with presuming good will among our neighbors and then trying to bring people together in conversations and really foster what Pope Francis called the “culture of encounter.” Perhaps if we do that, and do a better job of listening to each other, we might be able to heal some of this deep division in our communities.So, in that context, where there are deep divisions and deep resentments among different groups of people, particularly the urban and rural split, in what ways can the Church foster dialogue and be a bridge-builder in that conversation? How can we build bridges between urban and rural people, Republicans and Democrats, people across races, and really start listening to each other?