Page 7, 16th February 2001

16th February 2001
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Page 7, 16th February 2001 — Meeting the challenge of the secular media
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Meeting the challenge of the secular media

From the Acting Director of the Catholic Media Office Sir, The article by Daniel Johnson and your editorial (Feb 9) are timely contributions to the discussions concerning the Church and the media.

Last November, the bishops of England and Wales invited two experienced and respected media professionals to conduct an independent review of the Church's communications and media needs and requirements. They will report to the Low Week meeting in two months time. Thc secular media represent an important challenge and a vital opportunity for the whole of the Church at the beginning of the 21st century — from every bishop to every lay person. This is a task which must be grasped with confidence.

Yours faithfully TOM HORWOOD Acting Director Catholic Media Office, London SW!

From Mr Dave Taylor Sir, Daniel Johnson, whose heart is obviously in the right place, has written a timely and spirited article about Catholic relations with the media.

Why not offer Johnson himself the post of Director of the Catholic Media Office? Because on the evidence of his article he understands neither the Catholic position nor that of its enemies.

For him the Word of God seems to be the Bible, not Christ; and the enemy postmodern relativism, not its intellectual root in Humean empiricism. His programme envisaged either evading or ignoring the enemy, not getting our heads together within the Church to see how the Humean position can be confronted.

As I see it, the weakness of the Catholic position stems from Vatican training of bishops etc in Continental philosophy, which treats Anglo-American philosophy as provincial. Yet Hume was the mentor of Adam Smith, and England led the way in the development of science and industry. It is a (still) Humean/Logical Positivist understanding of science, and the Utilitarian Malthusian Darwinism of Anglo-American "free trade" capitalism, which today threaten not only religion but human life itself.

When we don't understand where our enemy is coming from, it is not surprising that we have become disorientated. So, we need a "heavyweight" presence in the media. That requires a combination of understanding, status, writing skill and administrative ability. It is the understanding we seem to be short on. We need to learn from Chesterton's Fr Brown how to put ourselves in our enemy's shoes, how to "become the murderer" in our own minds, so we can respond to and use the media charitably and intelligently. To achieve the required combination of talents, perhaps we also need to rediscover teamwork in "the Mystical Body of Christ".

Yours faithfully DAVE TAYLOR Malvern Link Worcs WR14 2RZ

The case for Independent schools

From Sr Frances Orchard IBVM Sir, Jim Foley (Feb 9) in response to John Badham's article "Can our independent schools be saved " is in danger of resurrecting the sterile arguments of the 1970s against Catholic independent schools. The independent sector, which is indeed considerably smaller than it was in the 1970s, is in many ways a model of educational excellence that serves the Church well. The tradition of our Benedictine schools would be an obvious example.

The Common Good in Education issued by the Catholic Bishops of England and Wales in 1997 states "In Catholic education we are challenged by Christ to see his presence in our neighbour ...That is why the poor and the disadvantaged in financial, social, academic or spiritual terms must be our primary concern". Catholic independent schools will have within their student body individuals who fit all those criteria, and often make generous bursary provision to support family need. Moreover, the independent sector alone can make provision for Catholic families where circumstances require their children to board.

Over the past decade there has been increasing co-operation




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