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Catholic Comment - Training People to Speak about Catholic Faith in the Media

A new organisation, based on the successful Catholic Voices model founded in Britain in the run-up to Pope Benedict’s visit in 2010, has been formed in Ireland.

Catholic Comment will prepare a team of lay people to speak about the Catholic faith in the media.

The organisation has been established by a group of lay Catholics, including independent Senator Rónán Mullen, former management consultant Catríona Curran, theology student Maura Garrihy and barrister Lorcán Price.  Other founding members include solicitor Declan Moylan, teacher Gene Dalton, university lecturer Dr Gearóid Barry and barrister Maria Steen.

In a statement announcing its establishment, Catholic Comment said it aims to provide authoritative and accurate communicators of the Church’s mission and teaching that will complement the work of Church leaders and assist the media.

According to project co-ordinator, Petra Conroy, the style of communication will be similar to that of Catholic Voices. 

“We hope to communicate our values while respecting the goodwill, sincerity and intelligence of others.

“Despite the challenges and crises of recent years, the Catholic faith matters to very many people in Ireland,” Petra Conroy explained.

“There are thousands of people with a sincere commitment to the mission and teachings of the Church.  Yet the media often has a hard job finding people who can speak confidently,” she added.

The organisation's founders believe the International Eucharistic Congress in June will be a time of heightened interest in Catholicism and they aim to assist journalists looking for people of faith who are “ready and able to speak.”

Catholic Comment is now looking for people who are interested in acquiring the knowledge and skills to communicate clearly and competently in the media, specifically, “people with a sincere, intellectual and spiritual commitment to Catholic values.”

Responding to the news of the new organisation's establishment, Bishop Denis Brennan of Ferns, who is Co-Chairman of the Episcopal Council for Communications, said Catholic Comment “could be a real blessing for the Church.”

Fr Robert McCabe, who is chaplain to the new group as well as being a priest of the Diocese of Meath, told ciNews that they had chosen a lighthouse as their logo as it linked symbolically to, “St Patrick lighting a fire on the Hill of Slane which, over time, transformed the communities in the Boyne Valley and throughout Ireland.”

The lighthouse also linked in with the Gospel passage from St Matthew (5:14), “You are the light of the world.  A city built on a hilltop cannot be hidden,” while the three circles represent the relationship of the Holy Trinity, Fr McCabe explained.

Psychiatrist and columnist, Professor Patricia Casey described the project as, “an idea whose time has arrived” and added that she encouraged people to support it in whatever way they can.

More information: http://www.catholiccomment.ie/

by Sarah Mac Donald

© CatholicIreland.net 2002-2012



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