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Can this friendship be saved?

One women's magazine has a column entitled "Can this marriage be saved?" It allows the husband and the wife to each tell their side of the story as to why their marriage is in shambles, and then a therapist of some sort jumps in and helps them see why and how their marriage can indeed be salvaged.

I'm wondering if we don't need some similar for friendships after last week's DOMA ruling, the divide in our country regarding abortion, theists vs. atheists, etc. Civility and reasoned arguments seems to be on the way out, while beating each other up, both physically and emotionally are taking over.

Is it possible to be friends with those whose ideas are radically different than our own on such important topics? Can we still have a glass of wine and play Scrabble with someone who thinks abortion is okay, or that gay people can marry? What about that gay family member who keeps badgering us about our overly pious and outdated religious beliefs?

Is it time for us to close ranks - quietly eliminate these folks from our lives as much as possible?

I don't think so. In fact, I think doing so is both un-Christian and dangerous.

We don't know if we are the only voice of reason for some people. We don't know if we are the only Catholic a person knows. We don't know how much weight our words, our actions and our prayers have. We MUST save these relationships.

St. Edith Stein said, "The nation doesn’t simply need what we have. It needs what we are."And what are we? We are bearers of the light of Christ, the only Gospel some will come in contact with, the nail-scarred hand that reaches out - not in pity or in violence - but in joyful peace. We must continue to be who God made us to be - faithful to Christ, willing to be among the least of these, in order to bear witness to Him who saves.

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