First CV Global Meeting in Rome

1 May 2014 
Leaders of Catholic Voices from three continents gathered last week in Rome following a conference at which the Archbishop of New York praised the “wonderful work” done by the project.
Timothy Cardinal Dolan praised Catholic Voices at a conference for church communicators at Holy Cross University. Dr Austen Ivereigh, co-founder of the project, was another of the speakers. 
Laughingly, Cardinal Dolan told the symposium that “the day of old fat balding bishops being the best spokespeople for the Church is long gone” and that “every diocese or church organization now needs to have competent, trained lay people to represent them”. 
Praising the “wonderful work done by Catholic Voices in the United Kingdom”, he described them as “a group of young, vibrant, cheerful, educated women and men” who in 2010 enabled “a rousing welcome” for Benedict XVI when the Pope visited the UK. Cardinal Dolan said that the Archdiocese of New York had begun working closely with CV USA, noting they had produced together a recent Easter radio ad inviting people back to the faith. Cardinal Dolan said he hoped dioceses would follow CV’s lead in finding and supporting lay spokespeople. 
In his speech, Dr Ivereigh described the Catholic Voices experience in arguing against the UK government’s gay marriage bill in 2012-13. He said he believed that there was a silent majority — which Pope Francis imagined as “God’s holy faithful people” — who had been absent, and that the Church needed to find ways of enabling their presence in debates in other countries. 
Together with Jack Valero, Ivereigh met Archbishop Claudio Celli, president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, to discuss the project’s developments. 
Following the Holy Cross conference, CV leaders met on 1 May to discuss ways of collaborating more closely. The leaders were from established projects in seven  countries — UK, Ireland, Spain, Poland, Chile, USA, Australia — as well from four nations currently involved in creating it: Italy, Portugal, Argentina and Holland. Missing were CV leaders from Mexico, Lithuania, Venezuela, Brazil and Canada, countries where the project is in various stages of development. 
The day-long meeting offered a vision of how CV projects could increasingly work together. 

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