Catholic Voices's brief is wide because the Church's mission and message affects every aspect of human life and that the project has become...
'...a school of a new Christian humanism; and a laboratory of a new kind of apologetics'...
But I can't help wondering whether the 'Academy' is a being a little complacent in the upcoming battle with the Government.
Don't get me wrong. The Church has plenty to tell the Government and society about Catholic social teaching and how it can be employed to make society more just in the work towards what has become known as the 'common good'. My personal opinion is that markets could possibly be made moral but that rich people who are more influential in the markets than poor people do not want them to be. It's one of the outcomes of Original Sin, as is homosexuality.
And last I heard, the Government wanted to redefine marriage over the next year or two and the 'common good' will, in this area, not be served. If I were leading the Catholic Voices (obviously I'm not trying to usurp anyone's job here - such a venture would never be successful anyway and besides, everyone can tell how shy I am) I would drop the beard-stroking session on whether 'capitalism can be made moral' and stick to your guns on making the Church's position on 'gay marriage' and, indeed, homosexuality in general, 100% crystal clear.
In fact, does anyone have a timeline of when marriage is going to be redefined by the State to contradict the very essense of what the word 'marriage' means? How long do we have until this demolition ball is in full swing? If you know drop me a comment because I'd like to know how much time we have before the Government resets the date of the United Kingdom to year zero.
I know that according to the web page that 'on Monday 5 March there will be a talk on same-sex marriage and the threat to (religious) freedom and that the details of the speaker will be confirmed shortly,' but I personally consider that the 'gay marriage' issue is the hottest issue (literally) of the day, week, month and year and I know I am not the only one.
Of course, the CV project doesn't want to be a 'single issue' organisation, but when it comes to the media, what they want to know is the Catholic Church's position on what is about to unfold in the United Kingdom. The media doesn't give two fig leaves for what the Church in England and Wales says about capitalism. You can tell that because when the Holy Father released 'Caritas in Veritate' you could see tumbleweed blowing past every newspaper's office doors. His Holiness only has to breathe a word about the threat to society from gay marriage and newspapers go wild with frenzied excitement. Let's face it, sex sells, even when the Pope discusses it. Besides which, nearly everyone agrees that banker bonuses in the midst of deep recession are bad. It is on this issue, this threat to 'human ecology' in the words of His Holiness, caused by the legislative onslaught of 'gay marriage' that the Holy Father wishes to see the Church in those countries where it is being considered, spring to life and to action.
Like I say, whether markets can be made moral is an important discussion and perhaps I am being hypercritical, but it just strikes me that the publicity for this Academy talk makes it look like the Church is treating the issue of 'gay marriage' as it might 'capitalism and markets'. It makes it look like we are still discussing it, trying to work out the answer and also, at this time, makes it appear that we are ambivalent as to how things will turn out when Parliament goes into motion on the marriage of two men or two women. It makes it appear that we don't care passionately about marriage, or that the Bishops don't care passionately about marriage. Or maybe not. I just saw it and thought, 'The Government are about to do this and you're talking about that?' Keep talking about this because this is where the fight is going to be! This is not a time for navel-gazing.
Bloggers are peripheral to the media. We are not passive in as much as we blog and communicate through the internet but we are also not so active that we are on BBC or quoted in The Guardian. Among the thousands of words that have been said about the CV project, some nice, some not so nice, has been perhaps lost the sense that all Catholics should want uppermost the success of the Catholic Voices project in communicating the Church's teaching and explaining it to the United Kingdom. Further, I don't know any Catholics who do not want Catholic Voices to be a resounding success. Where I do think some bloggers and the leaders of the CV project might differ is in the interpretation of 'success'.
After all, Catholic Voices are there to represent the whole Church, Bishops, Priests and lay faithful, even His Holiness himself, I guess. What they do over the airwaves over the next year either reflects well on us, the Body of Christ, or not. Also, just a thought. Have Catholic Voices recruited anyone who is willing to talk about the fact that they are both a homosexual person and a Catholic loyal to the Magisterium to defend the Church's position in the media? If you want to give Catholicism a human face, that seems to me like a good idea. Otherwise, you'll be open to the accusation that 'the Church just hates gays'. Anyway, I'm sure Austen's got all bases covered. Finally, if you want to attend Academy sessions, get in there quick, before the Academy 'membership scheme' comes in. Obviously, its not my job to tell Austen Ivereigh how to run Catholic Voices. With all his experience he has far more knowledge of the media than I. But then, if that's true for me, then its must also be true for those bloggers who think they could do John Smeaton's job so much better than John Smeaton with all his experience in the pro-life field.
Prayer for England
O Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God and our most gentle Queen and Mother, look down in mercy upon England thy Dowry and upon us all who greatly hope and trust in thee. By thee it was that Jesus our Saviour and our hope was given unto the world; and He has given thee to us that we might hope still more. Plead for us thy children, whom thou didst receive and accept at the foot of the cross. O sorrowful Mother, intercede for our separated brethren, that with us in the one true fold they may be united to the supreme Shepherd, the Vicar of thy Son. Pray for us all, dear Mother, that by faith fruitful in good works we may all deserve to see and praise God, together with thee, in our heavenly home. Amen.