Openness of mind and heart
Letter to the Editor | Friday, August 18, 2017
Each year at Saint Mary’s we focus on a core value of the College’s mission. This year, it’s justice. We must be ever mindful of the respect and fairness that we owe each other in accordance with every person’s God-given dignity. In the academic, spiritual and social life at Saint Mary’s, we strive every day to reflect that paramount ideal of our campus community.
These are challenging times. The tension between people and the strain that conflicting ideas put on communities can be felt across the country, including in places where a diversity of viewpoints should be most welcome – college campuses.
In keeping with the College’s dedication to fostering a culture of justice, I want to reaffirm Saint Mary’s commitment to diversity and inclusion, to ensuring a welcoming environment for students, faculty and staff of all cultural, religious and socioeconomic backgrounds. Maintaining that environment also demands an empathetic respect for differences of opinion, an affirmative recognition that debate in good faith serves the highest educational purpose, nurturing intellectual growth and stimulating the pursuit of truth.
In my first academic year as president, I was heartened to find a campus community alive with spirited ideas and inspired by the young women who advanced them with courage and conviction. Students must continue to pursue the cause of justice in keeping with their conscience.
A true culture of justice also demands a recognition of the humanity of those who hold differing views. Opponents should not be treated as enemies. Dialogue should be engaged with an openness of mind and heart that leads to understanding, an essential step toward resolving our differences with mercy toward our adversaries.
As Pope Francis has said, “justice is mercy and mercy is justice,” concepts that cannot be separated if we are to fulfill them as we’re called to do. I’m proud to be part of a campus community at Saint Mary’s that takes that call so fervently to heart.
The views expressed in this Letter to the Editor are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.