Letter: Clarity following Napa Institute event – August 7, 2022

By Dominic Figueroa
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Originally posted here by the Napa Valley Register, a local news outlet in Napa, California.


While reading recent articles regarding the Napa Institute, it is necessary to clear up a few things:

1) First, as Catholics, we hold fast to the teachings of Jesus Christ and the Gospel, which is good news to all people. We are not a political organization. We don’t fit easily into any one political category. We are the body of Christ in the world. The Gospel does have political implications in as much as it demands of believers to live as they believe. If we say we believe in the dignity of every human life, then we work for a world that upholds every person’s dignity: born and unborn. The local Bishops of San Francisco and Santa Rosa were labeled conservative in this article, but that is forcing political categories on religious leaders who would not describe themselves with those categories. We follow Jesus Christ, and both of these bishops do just that which leads them to work for justice for all.

2) This article quotes multiple individuals who say that this conference does not belong here. Well I know for a fact that I am one of many local Napans who believe it does belong here. And if those said individuals were consistent with their preaching of tolerance then they would be as well. Furthermore, I personally witnessed local Meritage employees deeply touched by the words and witness of the speakers.

3) Carol Whitman says she disagrees with the values of the Napa Institute. Which values would those be? I have personally spoken with individuals attending this conference who fight poverty across the world, offer support to families struggling to provide, raise awareness about human trafficking, work for just wages and ethical business practices and the list goes on and on. It seems Carol only disagrees with the values that do not fit with her worldview.

4) The hallmark of a healthy society is to be able to dialogue about the things about which we disagree in a constructive manner without “disavowing” them. I echo John Mayer’s words that this article shows one thing very clearly: not one of the people voicing opposition has any first hand contact with the people of the Institute. And as the saying goes, “you cannot judge a book by its cover.” You have actually got to open it up and look inside. To that end, I will offer to pay your way to the conference next year, so that you can experience it for yourself.

I encourage you — Carol, Wallace, and Mike — to engage in conversation not cancel culture.

 

Dominic Figueroa is a local news writer for the Napa Valley Register.


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