Wednesday, February 03, 2010
LONDON, FEB. 3, 2010 (Zenit.org).- 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."