Are you for Austen Ivereigh?
Are you for 'Catholic Voices'?
If we are not 'for Christ', as St Paul said, we are for nothing or nobody. If we are not for Christ, we are useless.
Mulier Fortis has highlighted an exchange of e-mails which suggests that all is not well with the media team drawn together to defend the Holy Father and the Holy Church by Jack Valero and Austin Ivereigh, 'Catholic Voices'.
Take comfort, James Preece and any Catholic bloggers overlooked or looked at and then dropped by the 'Catholic Voices' team, in their search for the fresh Catholic voices of men and women who strive to live the Most Holy Faith and who strive to bear witness in deed and in word to the Gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
Take comfort in the fact that St Paul, model of all Evangelists, was imprisoned for the Faith and was silenced, for a time, but that he was released not only to give his hearers some much needed home Truths on his release, but to dish those Truths out with great Love. It is sad, indeed, that a vocation so high and a privilege so great and lofty as that of preaching the Most Holy Faith should be tarnished and spoiled by worldly motivations such as the protection of reputation, at the expense of talent, honesty and genuine zeal for the Gospel.
When it came to 'Catholic Voices', many were 'called' but few were 'chosen'. But, I have particular sympathy for James Preece because he was 'in', since he was invited to a training day in London and then suddenly he was 'out'. In the case of James, I suspect that his very sudden omission was due to his speaking nothing but the Truth and his very just criticism of some very high profile figures in the Church over the issues related to the Catholic Education Service (CES) and Marriage Care, which have caused grave scandal to the Faithful, may have been deemed to be too close for comfort by either those very senior figures or those who are close to them.
Many are paid very hansomely for their service to the Church in the media and from out of the wages, often very low wages, of ordinary parishioners are their wages paid. I am a gardener. I am paid by the hour £10 for every hour I work by my clients. If, at the end of the day, the garden looks rubbish, I lose the contract and rightly so.
With many paid by the Church (and time will tell whether perhaps this may be the case for 'Catholic Voices') for their activity in the media, the garden remains rather weed ridden at the end of the day. One wonders whether their hearts are truly 'for Christ'. Are they lazy or just bad at their jobs? I don't know who, for instance, goes home with a paycheck every month for their media work for the Bishops Conference of England and Wales, but, whoever they are, perhaps they should consider another vocation. Still, that very criticism has even been levelled at more than one of the Bishops Conference of England and Wales.
James Preece, in terms of his commitment to defending Life and the Family, his bold and truthful blog, his loyalty to the Magisterium of the Church and the Holy Father, his appearances in the media already defending the Church and the Pope and his very genuine human warmth, made him an ideal candidate for 'Catholic Voices'. What concerns me is that James Preece is most definitely 'for Christ' and that is very evident every day to those of us who read his blog. Yet, he has been omitted from the team and no apparent reason has been given. If the 'Catholic Voices' team and those who lead it are not for Christ, His Church and His Vicar on Earth, then what it sets out to achieve will not flower as it should, it will not blossom, indeed, it will whither and die.
Fresh Catholic voices should indeed be encouraged for the duration of the Holy Father's visit and beyond. However, Our Blessed Lord and His Apostles had no need for media darlings. St Peter, remember, was a fisherman and became the leader of the 'fishers of men'. The Apostles had no need for media savvy, suited, pin-striped professionals. They spoke the Truth and they did so with Charity. The Apostles in the UK are the Bishops of England and Wales. They are the Catholic voices which need to be heard. The Laity simply do not have their Authority, since their Authority has been given them by God Himself. The question is and it is becoming more and more a valid question...Are they for Christ?