Thursday, October 28, 2010

Catholic Voices in "dialogue"

There is an interesting piece on the 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.

9 comments:

Jackie Parkes MJ said...

Well put Fr Ray..

Marianne said...

Fr Ray
Those who seriously wish to become equipped to engage in dialogue or debate may be interested in the new distance learning MA in Apologetics at the Maryvale Institute, starting in January 2011. The coursebooks have been written by among others Canon John Redford, Fr Marcus Holden, Fr Andrew Pinsent. I can highly recommend the programme!
More information here:
http://www.maryvale.ac.uk/index.php?id=507

louella said...

I don't think there is anything wrong in Catholic Voices being elitist...you could say the Jesuits were once the elitist apologists for the Church. I think that on all different levels various groups could get together and formalise their own approach to Catholic apologetics and evangelisation.

There's room for all different types of groups. The more the merrier.

nickbris said...

I went a funeral once presided over by a "Humanist" it made me feel quite queasy.

One would have to be a masochist to try and communicate with that lot at The Lord Nelson.

Richard said...

I'm not sure what to think about Catholic Voices, and I don't know anyone involved in it.

One the one hand, I agree that we don't want a narrow self-appointed group holding themselves out as representing (even if not officially) Catholicism.

On the other hand, it often seemed that no-one was speaking up for the Church in the mass media, so well done to those involved for getting something together and working.

And from my small knowledge of the national media, most journalists like to show balance but are lazy - they won't bother to search out alternative views, but will use them if they are easy to find and use. So Catholic Voices does seem to provide a useful role in offering a simple source of orthodox Catholics who know how to perform for the media.

But I can't help thinking it's a pity that the Bishops can't do what Catholic Voices seeks to do.

If our Bishops were willing and able to defend the Church in the national media, then there wouldn't be any need for Catholic Voices.

nickbris said...

Polly Toynbee,that World Renowned Atheist/Humanist would be difficult to talk to.

Her " Final Solution" rings a bell somewhere.

Where would you start with a Social Democrat /Atheist/Humanist

On the side of the angels said...

I think people must be reminded that Catholic Voices is now an Independent Charity ; the three co-ordinators now being trustees.

It must also be remembered that Catholic Voices's remit is merely to appear within the media and unofficially speak in defence/promotion of a relevant social issue from a Catholic perspective. It has always stated from point one that it is neither apologetical nor considers the media as an apropriate place to evangelise.

Ergo it is a media operation for the media - it is NOT catechetical, nor a source for cogent apologetics nor does it train its team to evangelise.

Much as many of us would love it to be the beginnings of a resurrected Catholic Evidence Guild ; its paradigms and main objectives are almost directly contrary to it - it is not interested in formulating a fundamental catechetical/evangelical/educational/apologetic structure; rather it is involved in constructing a 'reactive' media argument derived from these.

CV's trustees are NOT trained in apologetics; they are media-hacks for a news-media environment; nothing more ; and they train the CV team accordingly - it's their publicly stated remit.

Fr Ray's idea is truly wonderful - and it is something for which we have been calling for years - but an initiative which became a mass apologetic movement for classrooms , parishes, workplaces and in-depth media apologetics/evangelism - will not be sourced in Catholic Voices or indeed many of the people involved - it must be formed and co-ordinated by people of distinctly different capabilities.

This is no place to repeat the many criticisms of Catholic Voices and its trustees; but it is certainly one to promote a new Catholic Evidence Guild - Bearing in mind that CVs should remain within their own media remit and not make any attempts to do that for which they were neither engaged nor capable of performing.

On the side of the angels said...

Having just read the transcript of Jack Valero's latest media appearance on John Smeaton's spuc blog ; and read Austen Ivereigh's 'reframing' of the canonically well- defined principle of Catholic Laicism [separation of Church and state and non-political participation of Clergy/Religious] into a 'Healthy,Positive SECULARISM'...

[I kid you not - Faith Schools & Charities and any advocate for religious conscience rights had better beware! Especially as this comes from cormac's right hand man in the nefarious far-from-laicist activities during the Blair-regime]

...I am more than convinced that Catholic Voices should definitely NOT make any attempts to extend its remit into the reformation of a pseudo-Catholic Evidence Guild; nor should it even become involved in any other attempt by another party.

On the side of the angels said...

Ah well !
I spoke too soon....
They've already received permission to become a 'Catholic Academy' in Manchester....
God help us all!