The Catholic Church is perhaps one of the oldest institutions in the world. Yet, it remains a mystery to some, and confusing to others.
Catholic Voices, an organization founded five years ago, is trying to change that. The group prepares lay people from throughout the world to discuss and defend the Church in different media formats.
They recently held their first international meeting, not far from the Vatican. Members came from as far as Australia to take part.
Catholic Voices USA
"I see Catholic Voices as being a real voice for lay Catholics in the public square. Catholics who know and love their faith bringing smart, informed, faithful Catholic voices to the public. Standing with Pope Francis and really bringing the excitement and the mercy and the joy that he emanates to our countries and the places that we live.”
Conference attendees spent the first day and a half hearing from each other, and learning about projects in each other's countries. They quickly found that even in countries that are vastly different, many of the same issues are discussed in the media.
Catholic Voices Poland
"There are things like clerical sex abuse. There's celibacy. There's the role of the Church in the modern world.”
They also received briefings from top Vatican officials to broaden their knowledge of what the Church does in Rome. Cardinal George Pell, who has been tasked with reforming the Vatican's finances, also spoke to the group.
Catholic Voices Australia
"We're in Rome at the moment for a conference of all the voices from around the world. So from 20 different countries. And we've gathered to just be formed more as a Catholic and as a voice for the Church. And to just really grow in our love for our Church and our Lord, and then take that back to our own country.”
The group is already active in more than a dozen countries, and they will soon expand to Portugal, France, Belgium, Peru, Colombia, and Germany.