I've found myself seriously tied down to some tough awkward writing in the last few weeks. It seems that I've become default flavour of the month- well not so much favoured flavour but an easy person to default to when all else fails. I really don't mind this at all - it gives me quite a wide range of experiences and I know that my small pool of anecdotal wit soon evaporates if the audience becomes too familiar. Anyhow I'm in Ireland for a music conference but my mind will be well and truly distracted by a forthcoming 'key note' address that I have inherited. This is a talk to a group of 'Catholic' Educational Professionals. (As you'll see I was not to sure where to place the parentheses at the end of the last sentence- each words seriously needs qualifying, probably a health and safety warning or some disclaimer to protect it from advertising fraud legislation.)
Anyhow in a weeks time I will find myself standing in front of a crowd of 'Catholic Educational Professionals' who, in their brief to me, have described themselves at 10% Catholic 20% other Christian and 70% Agnostic or Atheist. Do I need to repeat the phrase 'Catholic Professional Christians' again or have you got my drift? Well having got over statistical shock I decided there just might be an opportunity for evangelism here and like St Paul I better start with looking for some common ground. Some sort of altar to the unknown God that I could claim as my own and somehow get a leg in to the rarified alternative reality that is professional agnosticism. 'Aha', says I when I found the mission statement of these 'Catholic Professional Christians' tucked away towards the end of the brief. Alas not a word in it says anything really Christian, professional or Catholic.
I really do wonder what purpose it serves some institutions to maintain even the facade of a pretence of Catholicism. It would be the Devil's work if it was purely to hold on to the trust funds. The same trust funds given by devout Catholics that pay for their generous salaries and fund their extended holidays. But back to the 'Mission Statement'. It does talk about Christian Values and lists them~ unfortunately only the ones that could be drawn from any other world philosophy. Nothing to offend here! Perhaps that's where I should start!
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