Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington, DC, offers the following seven ground rules for engaging in a civic dialogue:
- Make sure everyone has an opportunity to speak.
- Share your personal experience, not someone else’s.
- Listen carefully and respectfully. Speak carefully and respectfully. Do not play the role of know- it-all, convincer or corrector. Remember that a dialogue is not a debate.
- Don’t interrupt unless for clarification or time keeping.
- Accept that no group or viewpoint has a complete monopoly on the truth.
- “Be more ready to give a favorable interpretation to another’s statement than condemn it” (Catechism of the Catholic Church no. 2478, quoting St. Ignatius of Loyola).
- Be cautious about assigning motives to another person.