Catholic Voices organizer Peter Nation.

Mobilizing the Catholic Voice

  • June 11, 2014

Catholic Voices is looking for Canadians to speak up for their Catholic faith.

Originally from the U.K., the first Canadian bureau of Catholic Voices will be officially launched in October. Based in Vancouver, it aims to provide the news media with Catholics well versed to comment on contemporary issues.

Catholic Voices Canada is an independent group that trains lay Catholics between the ages of 25 to 40 to share their opinions and the Church’s position on hot topics with secular media. It currently has six people who are currently in training.

Catholic Voices organizer Peter Nation said the organization’s people are meant to present a rea-sonable, non-defensive and logical face of Catholicism.

“Part of our training is how to best respond to the media,” he said, adding that the voices will add the balance to issues journalists seek.

Candidates should have an interest and supportive attitude towards all aspects of the Church and its different ministries, he said, and “always (be) people who love the Church, love their faith and look forward to the opportunity to talk about in the media.”

“I’m looking forward to having them as a resource. We get a lot of media calls and I can’t always respond as quickly or as fully as I’d like to,” said Paul Schratz, communications director for the Arch-diocese of Vancouver. “It will be good to get people who are average Catholics in the pews… but informed Catholics who are ready to speak up, speak the views of the Church to the media when called upon.” Catholic Voices Canada is independent of the archdiocese.

The organization fundraises to ensure that training is free for all of its voices. There will be initial and ongoing training that includes analysing contro-versial issues, such as freedom of religion and society, assisted suicide, women and the Church, defending the unborn and con-jugality of marriage. Instructors will meet media professionals and will teach them how to approach issues, analyse them, understand the secular perspective, reframe them in the Church’s perspective and what key messages must be mentioned in an interview.

The founders of Catholic Voices, Jack Valero and Austen Ivereigh, were on hand in Vancouver to help train the first batch of Catholic Voices Canada. The pair founded the organization in 2010 in London in response to the media interest in Pope Benedict XVI beatifying Cardinal John Henry Newman. Initially, they trained two dozen speakers, said Nation. Today, Catholic Voices is present in about a dozen countries and Valero and Ivereigh travel to each one to impart the or-ganization’s philosophies.

Catholic Voices Canada also runs a Catholic Voices Academy to educate Catholics — lay, clergy and religious — who are not part of the speaking team. Nation hopes other cities will begin a Catholic Voices in line with Valero and Ivereigh’s brand. 

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