To the Editor:

There are some things more powerful than a bomb: The written word. The spoken word.

We know the proverb that the pen is mightier than the sword, but in Washington it is not that way. For all of our sakes, there must be a way out. Yes there is, and I can demonstrate it.

Pope Francis, during his short tenure, has created enormous healing and binding together that has visibly brought opposing groups together. Not long ago, each group viewed the other with suspicion: Not a healthy or charitable environment to be in regardless of the issues. Resolution would always be difficult.

A hostile environment must change if any issue is to be resolved. Yet, that is exactly what is going on in Washington and look at what it has brought us. Another apt proverb: “As you sow, so shall you reap.”

Hanging in my home is a French proverb: “To speak kindly does not hurt the tongue.” Could this, along with the other proverbs and Pope Francis's recent comments be the “secret” to the way out?

Pope Francis's comments have not yet changed anything in the Catholic Church, yet the communication environment has. Difficult and sensitive issues such as homosexuality, celibacy in the priesthood and the role of women in the church are but a few issues that warrant discussion but in a civil atmosphere.

Formerly, these were “off the table,” but Pope Francis, by his simple, charitable and civil utterances has instantly changed this charged, volatile and hostile environment to one of hope and resolution.

Everyone loves that special place where civility and respect reign. I term it “The Francis Effect.”

That place where civility, respect and a consideration of your opponent reigns. If a conversation begins with hostility, that conversation isn't going anywhere. So, remembering the beautiful words of the “other” Francis, St. Francis of Assisi: “Let there be peace on Earth and let it begin with me.”

Change begins with you. Write to key legislators, talk with friends and opponents, use the Francis effect to promote civility and respect.

Civility, like a delicate flower, must be watered and nourished, if not, our delicate flower dies and weeds quickly take over. Once this Francis Effect is in place, (even a little), issues will begin to resolve themselves to everyone’s’ satisfaction, but it begins with you.

John Scalici