Friday, February 3, 2017

Cognitive Dissonance

By Sr. Laura Coughlin

The state of having inconsistent thoughts, beliefs, or attitudes, especially as relating to behavioral decisions and attitude change.

With most of America, I’ve been watching the news carefully these last two weeks.  Images of marching women – more than a million of them gathered together to assert hard-won rights – impressed me. 

I was energized by their solidarity, amazed by their command of an audience, humbled by their support in other countries.

I was NOT convinced by their insistence that a woman’s freedom relies on the right to end her unborn child’s life.

I’ve also watched the airport protesters chanting their outrage over the seven countries ban

Five days ago, those inconvenienced by the executive order were greeted with a sea of friendly faces in various American ports of call. 

“No hate, no fear, refugees are welcome here!” they chanted here in Boston. 

Again I was filled with joy, and again I thought about my own resistance to welcoming large numbers of people who seem to threaten our identity as a Christian nation, something I have more or less taken for granted most of my life.

What do we do with cognitive dissonance? 

…with feeling sorrow because a coming together of women in a show of power can’t eliminate the most self-destructive, disempowering act a woman can make?

…with feeling joy that people are leaving their autonomy to step out with others in favor of more others in order to eliminate the word, and the experience, “other”? 

…with feeling fear that new arrivals will move from there to here, but will not adapt to here?

…with feeling hope that they will?

…with knowing that Elizabeth Seton once described herself as a citizen of the world.

…with knowing that Elizabeth Seton wanted her sisters to be children of the Church.

…with wondering how to make these two dispositions of our foundress a holy solidarity in my own life.

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