Thursday, April 12, 2012

The New Evangelization: Clear Voices

I was going to put this in tomorrow's "my take on the news" post, but Catholic Voices USA's deadline is barely more than a week away:

Heeding the Pope's Call for Public Witness

"Catholic Voices heeds Pope's call for public witness in US"
CNA (Catholic News Agency) (April 11, 2012)

"The recently-formed Catholic Voices USA organization is seeking volunteers to defend Church teachings, in response to Pope Benedict XVI's recent call for an effective witness in public life.

"At a January 2012 meeting with U.S. bishops in Rome, the Pope said that 'articulate and well-formed Catholic laity' were needed to 'counter a reductive secularism which would delegitimize the Church's participation in public debate about the issues which are determining the future of American society.'..."
The CNA article ends with a link to Catholic Voices USA:
My take on Catholic Voices USA, American culture, and all that, comes later in this post.

Looking for a Few Clear Voices

Back to the Catholic News Agency article:
"...In order to fulfill this call, Catholic Voices USA is seeking members of the Church in the New York and Washington, D.C. areas, who are less than 45 years old and can commit to a schedule of training sessions as well as public appearances.

"Applications for its upcoming training session, which will take place May 19-21, are being accepted until April 20.

"Volunteers will take part in what Pope Benedict called 'a primary task' of the U.S. Church, as they learn to offer 'a convincing articulation of the Christian vision of man and society' in different public forums...."
From Catholic Voices USA's home page:
"Do you find yourself at home arguing with TV news anchors, radio hosts and print columnists, wishing someone would defend your Catholic faith?

"Are you a practicing Catholic who prays for clear voices on news programs who actually believes what the Church teaches?

"Do you feel called to be one of those defenders?

"Catholic voices offers training to 'ordinary' Catholics who want to publicly make the case for the Church in truth and love. Based on a successful British program, Catholic Voices do not speak officially for the Church but answer the call for laypeople to publicly witness to their faith as an apostolic project of the New Evangelization...."
I stopped being 45 years old about 15 years back now. I live about a thousand miles away from "the New York and Washington, D.C. areas." I'm not one of the practicing Catholics they're looking for.

Warning! Old Coot Reminiscing

But that's okay by me. I'd probably enjoy going through Catholic Voices USA's training, and pick up useful skills. But I think I can do some good, right where I am.

My, ah, eclectic career(s) took me through degrees in history and English, with a minor in speech; I've had jobs as several kinds of writer, and was a reporter once; I've also chopped beets, sold books, and worked the graveyard shift as a radio disk jockey and computer operator. Not all at the same time, of course.

The point is that I've learned how to communicate: well enough for someone to pay me for using that skill. I've also learned how to get a job done in several different American subcultures. No bragging: it's just what happened when I tried to make the best of the package I got from God.

Along the way, I learned how to organized facts; and how to tell the difference between facts and assertions. And that's another topic.

Clear Voices, Practicing Catholics, and a Big Church

I'm a Catholic convert, with pretty good language skills, living in central Minnesota. Other folks started going to Mass shortly after they were conceived, are persuasive speakers, and live near America's northeast coast.

Catholics are prophets, teachers, healers, and administrators. Some of us speak in tongues. (1 Corinthians 12:28) I don't think I'm 'better' because I've got the package God handed me: any more than I think my spleen is 'better' than my gallbladder. I've been over this before:
Bottom line? Practicing Catholics aren't all alike: and that's the way it's supposed to be. (1 Corinthians 12, 14; Catechism of the Catholic Church, 787-789, for starters)

"Catholic" in the Name

I wasn't impressed at Catholic Voices USA having "Catholic" in its name. I've learned to tune out what I hear from "Catholics United for Genocide." CUG isn't, as far as I know, a real organization. Not in my native country, anyway.1

There are, sadly quite a few Americans who apparently want to be called "Catholic," but don't want to go along with the Church on some logical extension of the "love God, love your neighbor" principles. Given our cultural quirks, it often has to do with the Church's insistence that a person should have sex only with a member of the same species, the opposite sex, in the context of marriage.

I think it's interesting that folks who don't want to live by the Church's rules want the Church to change. America has a long-established custom of folks dropping membership in one church, and joining another; starting their own church; or dropping out of 'organized religion' entirely.

Metaphorically speaking, there's no lock on the door of the Catholic Church: anybody who wants to leave may do so. I think that'd be a bad idea, and that's another topic. (John 6:68)

Related posts:
1 If you live in America, and are paying attention, sooner or later you'll probably read that the Catholic Church arranged for the Rwandan genocide of 1994. There's a (very) little truth to the accusation. That may help explain why notion keeps making the rounds:
  • Rwanda
    • Events
      • 1959 Hutus overthrow the ruling Tutsi king
        • About 150,000 Tutsis
          • Survive
          • Flee Rwanda
      • 1990: civil war
        • Started by some children of Tutsi exiles
      • 1994: State-organized genocide
        • Target: Rwandan Tutsis
    • People
      • Ethnic groups
        • Hutu (Bantu) 84%
        • Tutsi (Hamitic) 15%
        • Twa (Pygmy) 1%
      • Languages
        • Kinyarwanda (official, universal Bantu vernacular)
        • French (official)
        • English (official)
        • Kiswahili (Swahili, used in commercial centers)
      • Religions
        • Roman Catholic 56.5%
        • Protestant 26%
        • Adventist 11.1%
        • Muslim 4.6%
        • Indigenous beliefs 0.1%
        • None 1.7%
    ("Rwanda," CIA World Factbook (last updated March 6, 2012))
Some Rwandan Catholics are priests. Some of those priests were personally involved in the genocide. As individuals. That was wrong. But that's not the same as the Catholic Church sanctioning genocide. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2313) I've been over this before:

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Background:Posts in this blog: In the news:

What's That Doing in a Nice Catholic Blog?

From time to time, a service that I use will display links to - odd - services and retailers.

I block a few of the more obvious dubious advertisers.

For example: psychic anything, numerology, mediums, and related practices are on the no-no list for Catholics. It has to do with the Church's stand on divination. I try to block those ads.

Sometime regrettable advertisements get through, anyway.

Bottom line? What that service displays reflects the local culture's norms, - not Catholic teaching.