ICN site, it is titled "London: first 'Catholic-Humanist dialogue' held". I think it is a very commendable thing, a group of Catholics and a group of Humanists getting together. Some of my parishioners have been doing this off and on for sometime here in Brighton.
Whether this is first for London, I doubt it, I suspect it is bit of hyperbole. I have sat in a London pub and "dialogued" with humanists, I think Archbishop Peter Smith did it on the eve of the Papal Visit under the auspices of the Met.
It is perhaps interesting Catholic Voices, which "does not speak officially for the Church", patron Fr Christopher Jamison and its coordinators, Austen Ivereigh and Jack Valero, put the Church’s case on Aids/condoms, faith schools, and same-sex adoption in a discussion with Alan Palmer, chair of the Central London Humanist Group; Josh Kutchinsky, a British Humanist Association trustee; and Paul Sims, news editor of New Humanist magazine. Humanist are always a bit of mixed a disparate bag, even more prone to schism that Baptists.
I am glad this seems to be the way forward for Catholic Voices, maybe once they have honed their debating skills they might start training parishes, even clergy and bishops to enter into debate or even publish simple fact sheets for others involved in "dialogue". Who knows this could be the revival of the Catholic Evidence Guild.
I am not knocking this, or Catholic Voices, I really do believe that the Chuch needs gangs of bright young Catholics on every university campus, in every city, town and parish in the country. Every newspaper, every radio phone in or internet forum that discusses religion or ethics needs some catholic voices on it. I would just like to see CV as being more than just a platform for Jack and Austen and more widely based than London. For me the problem is that it seems to be a little narrow, a little elitist. What has happened to all those bright young men and women?
What the Abbot, Jack and Austen were discussing takes place all over the place wherever there are committed Catholics including bedrooms and school classrooms. I wish Catholic Voices could be a mass movement.