Thursday, 26 January 2012

More on Catholic Voices

I have been musing further on Catholic Voices and the antipathy they have encountered in some quarters of the Catholic blogosphere.

(Blog first, think afterwards, that's my motto!)

As I said previously, the issues are complex, but over the last couple of weeks another dynamic has become clearer to me.

On at least two occasions, and with two different CV speakers, I have found myself explaining some of the history that sits behind some current issues; on each occasion I was greeted with 'Oh, I hadn't known about that.'

That is entirely reasonable; the whole point of CV was to recruit younger and fresher voices.  They certainly wouldn't want old jaded people like me representing the Church in the public forum.  Who knows what I might say!

These younger fresher Voices also tend to start from a positive point of view (that was also a requirement, and an understandable one).  So they see something emanating from the official Catholic Establishment (Bishops' Conference, CES, Ecclestone Sq, CAFOD...) and react to it starting with the assumption that it is likely to conform to, and express, a Catholic worldview.

That should be a safe assumption, of course.  Unfortunately, in my view and based on a few decades of disillusionment (I'll post some more 'why I am so bitter and twisted' posts eventually), that is no longer a safe assumption.

So when I (and others) hear a young fresh Voice extolling the latest pronouncement or nuance which we find problematic, we think 'But don't they realise...!?!'

But of course it is unfair to expect them to know in detail the battles and betrayals of the last 40 years.

Which raises the question: is it fair to dull their enthusiasm by rehearsing all those old disappointments and disillusionments?

But I have never subscribed to 'if ignorance is bliss...'  The task we face is to re-evangelise our world; a necessary pre-cursor in this country is to re-evangelise our Church; and that means really debating and seeking to understand what has gone wrong.

To their credit the Voices with whom I have had these interactions have been open to and interested in the background to my prejudicial views.  I don't expect them to agree with them all (that would be frightening indeed!) but I think a critical engagement with the issues is essential.

I still have reservations about the leadership of CV, but that's another issue...


Richard Collins said...

I asked them quite some time ago to look into having a Welsh Catholic Voice (I am not eligible for several reasons, not least of which, I am not Welsh and I don't speak Welsh)
I received the reply that there was no Welsh CV available but that,if I heard of any media call for a spokesman, I should just let them know and they would step up to the mark.
This is just so crass. There are Welsh Television and Radio channels and a multitude of Welsh Language magazines to whom an English only speaker would be anathema.

Patricius said...

"The task we face is to re-evangelise our world; a necessary pre-cursor in this country is to re-evangelise our Church; and that means really debating and seeking to understand what has gone wrong."

Good point. It seems to me, however, that it would be helpful too if, in addition to having Catholic Voices, we had something like "Catholic Ears" and "Catholic Brains". What I mean is something like a monitoring service surveying the daily output of the main or dominant organs of the mass-media in Britain as it reports or reflects matters of Church interest and then providing objective analysis. In short I am suggesting something like an intelligence service (without spies!) which would provide information on matters of bias or misinformation against the Church in the British Media. This could be very helpful for anyone seeking to speak on behalf of the Church be they bishop or layman. Knowing the enemy is half the battle.


I contacted Jack Valero twice and warned him that while Catholic Voices treat their work like a media organisation and not a ministry (or at least partial ministry) that they would have trouble.

Personally, I do not think that it is Jack who has the problem as I know that he has a solid spiritual background and as a good idea of how to go about this sort of thing in a spiritual context. It seems that it is many of their workers who seem to leave everything to chance and do not seem to understand the need for prayer and discernment when working for CV.

It is obvious that they are now (as individuals) beginning to struggle.