Labels and Francis’s Culture of Encounter

A reflection I made on Regnum Christi Live.

A few weeks back I wrote a piece on why certain labels like conservative or liberal religious community are unhelpful. My argument was mainly that these labels bring a foreign concept – politics – into religion. However, as I thought about it, I realize a lot more places where we tend to label people. I want to compare our tendency to label people with the culture of encounter Pope Francis has called for.

Labels can be helpful: knowing I’m a “person with high blood pressure” helps me be more cautious about extra weight. But labels can also limit a person or reduce them: if you reduce me to my high blood pressure, you lose a lot of who I am as that is only the most minor aspect of me.

Labels can come in all forms. An older person can use the label “millennial” to disparage young people while the younger person can use the label “old fogey” to disparage old people. It isn’t just age: status, races, creeds, personalities, interests, or medical conditions can also be used to label and diminish others.

Read the rest on the Regnum Christi blog.

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