Sunday, 24 June 2012
Pope's men gather in Leeds to help Britain
We are making the final preparations for our international theological conference on the New Evangelisation here at Leeds Trinity next week: http://www.leedstrinity.ac.uk/news_events/VaticanIIconference/Pages/default.aspx . The numbers are looking good - we're inching up to 200 now. That's great because conferences like this usually attract a maximum of about 100 I'm told. However, it's a bit difficult to convey the importance of our deliberations in a press release and the media have been a little slow to respond to the press releases which our excellent PR department has produced. This evening I recalled something a religious affairs journalist once said: if you're not a bishop, we're not interested. The press are drawn by the ecclesiastical celebrity factor. Also, everybody loves a good crisis. Accordingly, I penned the following which I hope will go out in the next day or two. The process reminded me of my three years as a journalist on The Universe before I went to seminary. Happy days (mostly)!
Pope’s men gather in
Leeds to discuss way out of religious crisis
The man charged by Pope Benedict XVI with the task of staunching the flow of Catholics from the pews is to speak at a conference at
this week. Archbishop Salvatore Fisichella heads up the newly created Pontifical Council for the New Evangelisation. Its brief is simple: make people interested in the Catholic faith once again. He will be joined at the conference, which runs from 26th to 29th June, by other Church leaders and top Christian academics. Leeds Trinity University College
Mgr Paul Grogan, Leeds Trinity Chaplain and one of the co-organisers of the conference, said: “Our aim is to consider how we can share the most precious treasure we have, our faith, with the people of our society. That means first and foremost, the people of
West Yorkshire. Many people profess to be Christians but their faith has become ‘tired.’ Mass attendance in this country is declining. We want to stop that.”
Among the key themes the conference will examine are the following: Should Christians try and persuade Muslims to become Christians? Should Christians seek to bring about political changes in society? Should the Catholic Church become more democratic? Are women treated as second-class citizens in the Catholic Church?
Cardinal Fernando Filoni, the Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples, and Cardinal Francis George, the Archbishop of Chicago, will also be addressing the conferences, as will leading female academics, including Professor Tracey Rowland, Dean of the John Paul II Institute in Melbourne and Professor Susan Wood, one of the most respected US Catholic theologians.
The conference is entitled “Vatican II, Fifty Years On: The New Evangelisation.”