I posted about the Catholic Voices project last year, which trained a group of young Catholics in the art of speaking about their faith in the quick-fire settings of media interviews and public debates.
A couple of weeks ago I attended the launch of their book Catholic Voices: Putting the Case for the Church in the Era of 24-Hour News, written by two of the project’s founders, Austen Ivereigh and Kathleen Griffin. It should be a great resource for any Catholics wanting to understand what their faith really has to say about any number of controversial contemporary questions, and hoping to learn some tips about how to present it.
Here is some of the blurb [slightly adapted]:
Catholic Voices is a new sort of apologetics, one that helped make the visit of Pope Benedict to the UK in September 2010 such an extraordinary PR success for the Church. The book is based on the expert briefings given to the original Catholic Voices team. It combines arguments and facts with practical media skills, hearing the question behind the question and listening for the positive intention behind the criticisms. It gives insider tips on how to present arguments clearly, compellingly and concisely in a quick-fire atmosphere. It is aimed not just at those speaking into a microphone, but at the parish priest, pastoral assistant, catechist, teacher, student – and at every Catholic who is wanting to answer questions on difficult topics in the news and give the reasons for what they believe.
And the author blurb:
Austen Ivereigh is a former public affairs director for the Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster, a writer and journalist, a regular contributor to the Guardian and America magazine who appears regularly as a commentator on the Catholic Church for radio and TV news programmes. Kathleen Griffin is an award-winning broadcaster, writer and senior lecturer in Broadcast Media at the University of Brighton. For many years a producer and reporter for BBC Radio 4, her many books include The Forgiveness Formula.
The new Catholic Voices website has also been launched recently – take a look if you are interested. There is lots of news about the new Catholic Voices Academy, the launch of another book about the development of the project itself, and the new Northern Speakers’ Programme that started this weekend.
[I must declare an ‘interest’: I’ve been the chaplain of the group since it’s launch last year. But I think I’d be posting about it even if I weren’t…]
They are desperate for funds. Here is their pitch to donors.
Catholic Voices is funded by donations from individuals and foundations and relies on the generosity of donors to continue its work. Please help us to:
√ serve both the Church and media by training informed, media-aware lay voices to articulate Catholic teachings on key issues;
√ support Catholics wanting to better articulate the wisdom of their faith through workshops, briefings, and authoritative arguments and information;
√ bring together Catholics engaged in public activities to develop commonly held propositions which express the insights and beauty of the Christian tradition, in order better to ‘put the case for the promotion of faith’s wisdom and vision in the public forum’.
If you feel moved to support this work, you can donate by paypal at the bottom of this page here.