Sunday, June 24, 2012

At the Catholic Media Conference

At the Catholic Media Conference

The Catholic Media Conference took place in Indianapolis from June 20 to 22, with about 400 attendees (my very rough guess--but Tim Walter, executive director of the Catholic Press Assn., told me that CPA was just shy of 300 registered participants; unless I misunderstood and that figure was for both associations involved).

The convention is sponsored annually by the CPA and the Catholic Academy of Communications Arts Professionals, and most of the attendees came from those 2 organizations, naturally.  We were also blessed by very active presence of Abp. Claudio Celli, president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, and his chief assistant, Msgr. Paul Tighe, and of several bishops either as speakers or as celebrants or as attendees: Abp. Charles Chaput of Philadelphia, Bp. Christopher Coyne of Indianapolis, Bp. Timothy Doherty of Lafayette (Ind.), Bp. Kevin Rhoades of Ft. Wayne-South Bend, and Bp. Ronald Herzog of Alexandria (La.).

I took a lot of photos of the meeting, the city, and our hotel (the Crowne Plaza at Historic Union Station). Here's a link to convention shots (I hope!):
and one to city and hotel shots:

While I'd like to go into details about the convention, I'm not ready to do that.  So here's the next best thing:  links to Deacon Greg Kandra's reporting:    (You can get Bp. Coyne's homily direct and entire at    Full text at    For some audio from that panel, supplied by Matt Palmer of Baltimore's Catholic Review:
Elizabeth Scalia, aka The Anchoress, reports a bit too:

More from Deacon Greg:

Other keynotes were given by Carolyn Woo, the new COO of Catholic Relief Services, and Carl Anderson, Supreme Knight of the K of C, and Abp. Chaput, and homilies by Bps. Doherty (shortest on CMC record, someone said) and Rhoades.

Abp. Chaput's address on religious freedom as summarized by Catholic News Service:
On the eve of the start of the "fortnight for freedom," the U.S. bishops' effort to galvanize Catholics across the country to pray for and learn about religious liberty, Philadelphia Archbishop Charles J. Chaput gave a major address on the topic during the 2012 Catholic Media Conference June 20. Arguing that "religious freedom is a cornerstone of the American experience," Archbishop Chaput said the American founders "saw religious faith as vital to the life of a free people. Liberty and happiness grow organically out of virtue," he said. "And virtue needs a grounding in religious faith." Religious liberty, however, is "more than freedom of worship," Archbishop Chaput continued. "It begins in worship, but it also demands preaching, teaching and service," he said. "It's always personal but never private." This liberty seen as so vital to the nation's founders, Archbishop Chaput said, is now facing threats that are "immediate, serious and real" and are often linked to a hostile reaction to Catholic teachings on sexuality and life issues. Citing an article written by University of Notre Dame law professor Gerry Bradley, Archbishop Chaput said critics of these teachings see them merely as "subjective religious ... that can't be rationally defended ... and should be treated as a form of prejudice."

Full text of the archbishop's speech at

And here's Catholic News Service's short version on Mr. Anderson's speech:
The debate over the federal contraceptive mandate and the fight for religious freedom is not about "a particular policy choice" but is "a debate over the role of religion in American society and the freedom and integrity of the Catholic Church's mission," the head of the Knights of Columbus said June 22. "It's not an ordinary national debate. There's a great deal at stake here," Supreme Knight Carl Anderson told Catholic News Service in an interview in Indianapolis. It is an attempt "to redefine the role of religion in America," he added. Anderson was at the Catholic Media Conference, the annual joint convention of the Catholic Press Association and the Catholic Academy for Communications Arts Professionals. He was scheduled to address the closing banquet of the June 20-22 media gathering. The mandate issued by the Department of Health and Human Services would require most religious employers to provide contraceptives and sterilization free of charge to their employees. To be exempt, a religious organization must have "the inculcation of religious values as its purpose"; primarily employ "persons who share its religious tenets"; primarily serve "persons who share its religious tenets"; and be a nonprofit organization under specific sections of the Internal Revenue Code. Catholics are at the center of the HHS debate right now, he said, but it began with the Lutherans in the Supreme Court case in Hosanna-Tabor v. EEOC, a challenge to a Lutheran school's firing of a teacher. The attempt to more narrowly define who is a religious employee was unanimously rejected by the U.S. Supreme Court. Anderson said "virtually every religious denomination" in the U.S. -- "from the Hare Krishnas to the Catholic Church" -- got involved in the case because the position taken by the Obama administration on Hosanna-Tabor, he said, could be characterized as the government's most restrictive definition of religious ministry.'

The Catholic News Agency, carried by the Knights themselves, has a longer report on the speech: 

I took in a master camp on developing a communications strategy for your diocese/order and workshops on reaching young adults, copyediting, copyright law, the above-mentioned one on blogging, and the Eastern Regional meeting of the CPA, besides concelebrating at our 3 Masses (St. John the Evangelist Church, 2 blocks from our hotel, is Indianapolis's oldest Catholic church and a really beautiful one) and doing a lot of visiting with old and new friends in the press (or networking, if you want to call it that).

Someone named Lisa Ranae Shanteau, whom I don't know, took this photo in the copyright law workshop and captured me from behind (you can discuss whether that's the better angle--but at least you can see that I'm awake).

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