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Scottsdale, Arizona — Delegates at the Leadership Conference of Women Religious' annual assembly, meeting in Scottsdale, approved a letter to be sent to President Donald Trump asking that he stop using "divisive and polarizing rhetoric."
"We implore you to never use language that disrespects, dehumanizes or demonizes others," the letter said. "We expect our president, and all who serve this nation as leaders, to be always mindful of the common good and the dignity of each and every person."
LCWR in an Aug. 14 announcement on the letter said there were 663 members in attendance at the Aug. 13-16 assembly. LCWR represents religious orders with about 35,000 sisters.
Trump has been accused of sowing division and discord with his public remarks and especially through his use of Twitter.
"We are outraged and heartbroken when our political leaders appeal to our basest instincts and stoke the fires of fear that threaten to tear the fabric of our nation apart," the sisters said. "We cannot, we will not, let the voices of hatred and fear carry the day."
The LCWR letter recalled Pope Francis' address to a joint session of Congress during the pope's 2015 visit to the United States.
"Each son or daughter of a given country has a mission, a personal and social responsibility," Pope Francis told the lawmakers.
"You are called to defend and preserve the dignity of your fellow citizens in the tireless and demanding pursuit of the common good, for this is the chief aim of all politics. A political society endures when it seeks, as a vocation, to satisfy common needs by stimulating the growth of all its members, especially those in situations of greater vulnerability or risk," he added. "Building a future of freedom requires love of the common good and cooperation in a spirit of subsidiarity and solidarity."
While acknowledging that "we are caught in a political culture paralyzed by ideological extremism and hyper-partisanship," the sisters reminded Trump, "these are times that require exceptional insight and courageous leadership."
The LCWR letter told the president, "We too have to reach deep within ourselves to bring forth the grace and strength that are needed to not give in to the temptation of labeling or judging those who are different from us. We share with you, Mr. President, that maintaining this fundamental stance in life requires discipline and fortitude and a constant examination of our daily thoughts and deeds in light of our beliefs.
"We sometimes come up short, but pledge to do better each day because we are aware of the moral authority we, as sisters, bear. We ask you, Mr. President, if you would consider a similar examination of the practice of your own moral authority.
In their appeal to Trump, the sisters told him, "You hold a position that has the potential to inspire the best of every one of us and we ask you to use this unique status to bring about healing and never seek to create division."
The sisters said in closing: "We promise to never cease raising our voices on behalf of the common good and praying for the healing of this country."