Wednesday, February 03, 2010

UK Catholics Learn Media Skills Ahead of Papal Visit

Project Seeks to Generate Positive Coverage of Pope

LONDON, FEB. 3, 2010 ( If you've read the news this week, you've probably seen that Benedict XVI is against equality in England -- or that's what it sounds like.

The Pope's address Monday to bishops of England and Wales in Rome for their five-yearly visit generated news that the Holy Father was "swiping" and "attacking" a U.K. equality law.

In truth, he spoke about natural law and the freedom of religious groups to act according to their beliefs. Homosexual rights activists expressed chagrin, and the headlines reflected their opinions.

This kind of press response is precisely what the initiative "Catholic Voices" of the Catholic Union of Great Britain will try to head off when the Holy Father visits the United Kingdom in September.

It will be "an 'authoritative but unofficial' bureau of media-trained and well-briefed Catholic speakers," prepared to speak to the press about what the Pope is really saying and other related themes.

Ready for the spotlight

Around 25 people will be trained with twice-monthly briefing sessions imparted by "experts on contentious issues likely to come under the spotlight during the papal visit," a statement from the group announced. "They will also receive three day-long media skills training sessions during those months, and conclude their formation with a residential retreat at Worth Abbey in the summer."

Catholic Voices is independent of the bishops' conference, but approved by it.

The president of the Catholic Union of Great Britain, Lord Daniel Brennan, and the abbot of Worth, Christopher Jamison, are the project's patrons.

The project communiqué noted that the Holy Father had another message Monday that didn't make the news.

He called on bishops to "insist upon your right to participate in national debate through respectful dialogue with other elements in society" and "to draw on the considerable gifts of the lay faithful in England and Wales and see that they are equipped to hand on the faith to new generations comprehensively, accurately, and with a keen awareness that in so doing they are playing their part in the Church’s mission."

According to Abbot Jamison, "Pope Benedict’s address to our bishops in Rome show how important and necessary this project is."


At 11:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Because of the “prevalence of fornication,” the Bible says that “it is better to marry than to be inflamed with passion.” (1 Corinthians 7:2, 9) In spite of this wise advice, many among the clergy are required to remain celibate, that is, unmarried. “The vow of celibacy is not broken,” explains Nino Lo Bello in his book The Vatican Papers, “if a priest, monk or nun engages in sexual relations. . . . Forgiveness for sexual relations can be obtained by making an honest declaration in the confessional, whereas the marriage of any priest would simply not be recognized by the Church.” Has this teaching produced good or bad fruitage?—Matthew 7:15-19.
No doubt, many priests live morally chaste lives, but a large number do not. According to the 1992 Britannica Book of the Year, “the Roman Catholic Church was reported to have paid out $300 million to settle cases of clergy sexual abuse.” Later, the 1994 edition said: “The death of a number of clergy from AIDS brought visibility to the presence of gay priests and observations that there were an inordinate number of . . . gays drawn to the priesthood.” No wonder the Bible states that “forbidding to marry” is a ‘teaching of demons.’ (1 Timothy 4:1-3) “In the view of some historians,” writes Peter de Rosa in his book Vicars of Christ, “[priestly celibacy] has probably done more harm to morals than any other institution in the West, including prostitution. . . . [It] has been more often than not a stain on the name of Christianity. . . . Enforced celibacy has always led to hypocrisy in the ranks of the clergy. . . . A priest can fall a thousand times but he is forbidden by canon law to marry once.”


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