Friday, April 30, 2010


One of the most respected of Catholic reporters/writers is John Allen of NCR. As a result of his taking part in a conference in Chicago of the National Association of Church Personnel Administrators (largely lay, of course), Allen wrote the following in a series of observations he made:

"[T]here is a widespread sentiment that the public relations approach of the Vatican doesn’t seem to be helping. Based on the reactions they’ve picked up in their workplaces, families, and neighborhoods, these Catholics were reporting that blaming the media, and comparing the attacks on the pope to anti-Semitism or to “petty gossip,” have fueled public impressions that the church is in denial. Given that the folks at NACPA often have backgrounds in corporate management, several asked me why the Vatican doesn’t bring in a team of faithful lay Catholics with communications expertise to give them advice. Of course, there’s a truckload of reasons why it’s difficult to put together a coordinated communications strategy in the Holy See, not the least of which is that it’s a far more decentralized and loosey-goosey environment than people imagine. That said, my experience at NACPA and elsewhere suggests there’s a vast reservoir of Catholics who would dearly love to offer their professional skills to help the Vatican out -- if only someone would ask."

I offer this comment to you because I think of the members of Our Savior parish in exactly the opposite way: I am thrilled when you ask me how you’d like to be involved, rather than waiting for me to ask you (though I do try to do this). Some of the better ideas we’ve been implementing have come from suggestions made by parishioners who were then also willing to “take the ball and run with it.” I am thinking of our “Singing Needles” group, or the various kinds of Bible study we’ve had in the past, or the forming of a “Welcoming Committee,” and so on.

We have not acted on all suggestions: sometimes it’s because of lack of time and energy; sometimes it’s because of lack of time; sometimes because it’s just not the right time for us. But that doesn’t mean suggestions shouldn’t be made, especially when sweat and effort are being offered along with the suggestions. This is, ultimately, why our Parish Council and Finance Council are so important, and it is what the parish survey was/is all about: sorting out what you think and where you’d like Our Savior to move in the next 5 or so years. Without your input and energy, we will founder.

What are your thoughts? How would you like to help? What is your expertise or talent, and how do you think it can best serve the Church?


  1. I believe the answer to the "public image/relations problem " at the Vatican can't be solved with secular solutions. As it is, the church in too many ways is over run with secularism. What would and what did Jesus do when He was being persecuted? Did He hire public relations entities to appeal to the pagans and others? No one is saying that the Church was not infilitrated by satan via the pedohiles, and other. Let the responsibility lay where it belongs; with those priests and those that did not handle the situation properly. My suggestion is that we work together to bring our church back to (Catholic) center, and keep secularism out. We desparately need to know what our (Catholic ) religion teaches, and how to go about living what she teaches us. Not what any one or two individuals decide we need to be taught, because it is what they believe.

    Lisa Adams

  2. In this particular writing by John Allen of NCR, I think the suggestion of getting expertise by high level communicators, who are objective in their approach, is a worthy one. It was mentioned previously that these rapid-changing communication devices were not well known or utilized by Pope Benedict. In fact, this is a complex matter to make sure that the specific meaning of our Pope's communications to the world is interpreted correctly. I won't venture further into this minefield of opinions, but I strongly pray that the Holy Spirit will win this round.