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Bishops to distribute cards to Catholics declaring their faith

By on Wednesday, 1 February 2012

One side of the card

One side of the card

A card communicating that its carrier is a baptised Catholic will be distributed nationally on behalf of the bishops of England and Wales.

The Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales is distributing one million cards to 24 dioceses including the Bishopric of the Forces and the ordinariate in order to cultivate evangelisation among Catholics.

The credit-card-size resource features on one side a clear statement that the carrier is a Catholic and a list of six things that Catholics are called to do.

There is also a sentence that reads: “In the event of an emergency, please contact a Catholic priest.”

The other side of the card has a quote from Blessed John Henry Newman, focusing on the call to serve and affirming that everyone has a mission.

Bishop Kieran Conry of Arundel and Brighton, chairman of the bishops’ Department for Evangelisation and Catechesis, said: “We all carry a variety of cards in our purses and wallets which reflect something of our identity and the things that are important to us. The faith card for Catholics aims to offer a daily reminder of what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ. We can’t summarise the whole of our faith in bullet points, but we hope that the card simply inspires people to do, read and learn more.”

The bishop added: “The card is also designed to give Catholics confidence to share their faith – often people need help knowing what to say. Faith is a not a private matter. This is something that Pope Benedict reminded the Catholic community in his recent letter announcing a Year of Faith, beginning in October 2012. Carrying a faith card takes courage, it signals to others, every time you use your wallet or purse, that you believe in God, that your life has a purpose, that you are trying to love and serve your neighbour. We hope that Catholics will use it to witness to their faith. If someone asks a question about Catholicism, a starting point could be to show the card and to take it from there.”

The resource is free and will be distributed to diocesan offices during February and March 2012 for local circulation.

  • Rani

    it’s a good idea

  • Rsmcgregor81

    Another great article from Madeleine Teahan. What about Scotland though? We need cards?

  • ms Catholic state

    Sounds good.  Now at least I now have something to tell people who ask about the re-Evangelisation.  It’s a small but concrete step rather than completely conceptual.  We need lots of concrete initiatives that needn’t cost the earth.  At least we now have the goal of the Conversion of Britain to Catholicism, courtesty of the Pope (don’t we?!).  That’s a bit different from our past mentality whereby we eeked out a cosy co-existence with secular society without any missionary zeal at all.

    These cards can help boost to our Catholic identities, remind us of our obligations somewhat….and will give every Catholic pause for thought as to whether they wish to live as Catholics or not.  Good!

  • Charles Martel

    “We can’t summarise the whole of our faith in bullet points”. True, but we can do a hell of a lot better than “As a Catholic, I am called to use the gifts that I’ve been given wisely”. That’s apparently one of the top six dogmas of the Catholic Faith? How about the Apostles’ Creed, which actually contains words that MEAN something? This is modernist fluff of the worst 1970s kind, or at best, a ghastly lowest common denominator that any Christian could subscribe to.
    And, by the way, your lordships, I don’t ‘celebrate’ the Mass; the priest does that. I don’t ‘celebrate’ confession; I go to confession. I don’t ‘celebrate’ extreme unction; the priest administers it to me.
    For crying out loud, if you think you’re going to re-evangelize the country with this mealy-mouthed tripe, get ready for yet another bitter disappointment. One million cards, paid for by our offerings at Mass? We Catholics know what we believe, and we don’t need some gimmicky credit card thingy like this to remind us of it. For God’s sake, give that money towards something remotely useful, such as LIFE or the poor, or the missions (I mean the real missionaries, who actually teach the Faith to unbelievers).

  • ms Catholic state

    Charles….the state of Catholicism is so perilous in Britain at the moment….that it’s baby steps at a time I’m afraid.  Low dosage Catholicism is all the majority of Catholics can digest for now.  And the advantage of this time efficient scheme is that it could reach every Mass going Catholic and more importantly every Catholic secondary school child within a week.

    Then they have to ask themselves….do I really want to be a Catholic, or not.  It is a question not at the foremost in their minds in our secularised environment sadly.

  • Mark Thorne

    I have mixed feelings about this. I agree with a previous comment that the wording here is a bit obtuse, to say the least. Condensing the entire Sacramental life into one bullet point is far too reductionist. What about attending Mass every Sunday and on all Holy Days of Obligation? (at least, the ones that the Bishops haven’t taken away from us). Ultimately, wouldn’t it have been preferable to simply list the precepts of the Catholic Church on such a card? – that is what defines being a practising Catholic, after all. “Using your gifts wisely” hardly rates as a “Top 6″ item in my opinion; if you were going to have a bullet point about loving your neighbour as yourself, surely Loving the Lord Our God with all our heart, mind, soul and strength would have formed its perfect complementary partner? Why isolate a solitary petition from the Lord’s Prayer? I do like the final comment very much though about contacting a priest in times of emergency – not something I would ever have thought of! 

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_PZOOUV4UHL23E6LVUR6QIHWF2U DAVID

    ” Low dosage Catholicism is all the majority of Catholics can digest for now.” Nonsense! To continue the analogy, there are more ways of presenting good and nutricious food than a 16oz steak cooked “bleu”! I have seen time and time again that where the Faith is TAUGHT – not watered down to a bland pap – with kindness, love, good humour and care the people respond with devotion, respect for the Sacraments and with care for each other and for Holy Church. If little is asked, little is received.

    These cards are a good idea. The wording is rubbish! So what’s to stop a parish producing its own -similar in size and layout, but with better wording? Bearing in mind the constraints of space on a credit-card sized space,  Let’s have a competition on here for the best wording – leaving the top and tail alone I reckon that’s about 50 words. The Catholic Faith in 50 words – now there’s a challenge..

  • Fred the Ferret

    Although I agree with Charles Martel on many points in his post, the card is an excellent idea…

    …having said that…

    With the greatest respect to our bishops, the text on the card needs some serious, well thought-out tweaking here and there – including the fact that we are committed to preserving life from womb to tomb. If I were in their shoes, I would not let the printing presses roll on these cards just yet and hold off until Whitsun before issuing them.

    The idea of identifying ourselves as Roman Catholic in this way is not new.

    Many years ago, when I was confirmed, I was given a cross-shaped medal with a combination of the Scapular Medal, the Miraculous Medal, St Joseph and St Christopher – on the reverse was the legend, in capital letters: I AM A CATHOLIC. IN CASE OF ACCIDENT, PLEASE CALL A PRIEST.

    If you look on piety shop websites (that are mostly based in the USA), these medals are still popular sellers in all metals.

    I also used to see little wallets with holy pictures/medals with space for a name and address and the same legend underneath.

    If you are the owner of an SOS Talisman (which I have to wear), there is space on the tiny strip to state your religion and request a priest or other religious in case something awful happens to you.

    I’m glad that we don’t have to wait to be involved in an accident or suffer to have a complete stranger identify us as Roman Catholic on any material – be it card, plastic or metal.

    We need to be well boned up on our faith to answer those awkward questions.

    The card can be an aide-memoire to prevent us from being clock-on-clock-off, cafeteria Catholics.

  • Andrea Hyde

    Why or why is that first line not, I am a follower of Christ rather than the obvious effect of being a follower of Christ. The biggest issue I have ever had with evangelization is being told a Roman Catholic is not a Christian. 

    Also, we are called to Love God with all our hearts by God himself, I would have had that rather than any of the other lines.

    That said, it is good idea as a first attempt. I look forward to a more accurate version 2.

  • Anonymous

    Nice :)

  • Marywood365

    One day we might also use cards such as these to “clock in” to Sunday Mass, to make our weekly offering, and contributions to all the 2nd collections by card not cash.

    It would provide a useful check on applicants for the parish school.  I wish there were space for a contact reference to my next of kin.

  • ms Catholic state

    David….I think that this is an excellent way to reach nominal Catholics and to crystallise in their minds (very succinctly) what it means to be Catholic.  Many nominal Catholics don’t realise they are required to ACT as Catholics and have certain obligations.  So here is a very clear way to correct this in less than 5 minutes (not a long drawn out course for a select few) while reaching vast numbers of Catholics …hopefully concentrating on the young in Catholic secondary schools

    I totally agree with your last point that parishes…and in my mind individuals too….can produce and distribute cards and leaflets according to their consciences…..and distribute them where they will.  The more the merrier .

  • Anonymous

    John 13.35

  • Maranatha

    We would like that  Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales sent us two cards above mentioned. We would proudly carry on our wallet. Would it be possible as we live in Italy?
    God bless.

  • Anonymous

    I am a card-carrying catholic. My card reads: in the event of death please contact the Department of Cellular Biology and Morphology of the University of…………  In agreement with my family it seems a worthy end.  This is my body for you, said Jesus. I’m saying “take my remains and use them for the benefit of other people*.
    I rather think the bishops have hit on this wheeze as a diversion. They’re uncomfortable with John 13.35

  • timothy

    This is definitely the card for you if you’re a novus ordo “catholic”. Not only are you excused from publicly declaring your allegiance to the Catholic faith, but you even get promoted to “celebrating” the novus ordo “sacraments”.
    Let me give you a better tip. Carry a traditional Catholic prayer card in your wallet, or have a Rosary in your pocket, or wear the Miraculous Medal around your neck or Our Lady’s scapular. That way, if someone sends for a “priest”, you just might get a validly ordained one who can truly assist you in your last moments.

  • Nomadyane

    Are you saying that priests who celebrate the Novus Ordo are not validly ordained?

  • Psalm91:11

    What about America? We got Obama.

  • Anon

    Perhaps the card should read ‘As a Christian, I….., am called to love the Lord our God with all my heart, all my soul, all the strength, and all my mind, and love my neighbour as myself’.

    The greatest problem suffered I think by us Catholics is that we don’t really know what the Good News is, or why it’s good.. Through repentance and faith we have become sons of God in Christ. Good News! And as ‘holy and spotless sons’ we must live ‘through love’, willing and allowing ourselves to be transformed into the image of the first-born, pouring ourselves out in self-giving love to our Father and suffering humanity to the greater glory of his name.

    But we need to tell people that God is desperately seeking them out, and that He became man in Christ so that man – you – can become at-one with God, and through the Spirit live a life without love (in brokenhearteness of all kinds), without blindness (no purpose or meaning), without imprisonment (in fear, sin, and guilt), without mourning (in hopelessness). Good News!

    Of course you can’t remove the cross, but allowing Christ to work in us to bring the Good News to others – through what we say and do – it won’t need to be sought out.

    But Jesus did not carry a card with his Good News on, and I know that we all suffer from fear and cowardice. But I agree with one author that cowardice is the greatest sin. The only way of overcoming it is through a living faith. The more faith we have, the more courageous we are, and this courage begets faith.

    “He who is ashamed of me and my words”. I’m a terrible coward but this always gives me the kick I need!

  • Anon

     * that should have been ‘without lovelessness’. Haha. Oops.

  • Anon

     PPS. Not sure what people think but ‘Heaven’ or ‘eternal life’ as an abstract concept, and even the New Jerusalem which will follow, is not much of a go-er. Seeing Christ face-to-face and not through a dark glass, yes, but that’s not something you can offer non-believers. Death might be at the back of everyone’s mind – it prompts the questions – but it doesn’t really provide the answers. Besides, the Kingdom of God is already here. It’s salvation now, in the middle of your life, not right at the end. And again, that’s Good News!

  • sclerotic

    “You shall love the Lord Your God…” First commandment not for Catholics then?

  • Margaret

    As I’m not a priest, I don’t celebrate the sacraments; I receive the sacraments. I guess that vague 60′s hippie Catholicism is still active among the baby boomer English hierarchy.

  • http://twitter.com/PJTPOOAM Thomas Poovathinkal

    I HOPE A CATHOLIC IS NOT A PERSON WHO LOVES A PHILOSOPHER CHRIST.

    Thomas Poovathinkal

  • http://twitter.com/PJTPOOAM Thomas Poovathinkal

    A LIVING FAITH  ONLY IS RELEVANT TO THE PRESENT AND ITS FORMULATION 

    ROOTED IN THE WORD OF CHRIST IS APPEALING TO THE YOUNG. A REFORMULATION IS

    ALWAYS WELCOME.

    AS FOR TRUE LIVING FAITH, IT COMES FROM READING, LISTENING TO  AND  MEDITATION ON,

    THE WORD OF GOD. IF TEACHING IS THE ONLY SOURCE OF ONE’S FAITH, IT COULD BE

    SHALLOW AND NOT SO PERSONAL.

  • http://twitter.com/PJTPOOAM Thomas Poovathinkal

    LEADERS WHO FUNCTION ONLY AS CONTROLLERS HAVE PRACTICALLY NOTHING IN

    THEM FROM ANY OF THE TWELVE APOSTLES OR JESUS THE LORD EXCEPT THEIR

    ARROGANT CLAIMS..IS ANY ONE OF THEM AN APOSTLE  IN PRACTICE IN HIS OWN

    RIGHT? JUST LISTEN WHENEVER  THEY OPEN THEIR MOUTHS AND ESPECIALLY SO

    ONE NEED TO LISTEN TO THEM TO UNDERSTAND THEM WHEN THEY PREACH.

    SO MANY OF THEM HAVE IN MIND, “THE OLD IS GOLD AND ONLY THE OLD IS

    GOLD”. WITH THIS MINDSET AND LIFE THEY DO TO DEATH THE YOUNG. THIS IS WHY

    IN SOME COUNTRIES ONLY THE CHURCH BUILDING ARE LEFT EXCEPTING SOME

    PEOPLE NEARING THE GRAVE.

    LIKE THE TAX COLLECTORS AND THE PROSTITUTES,  ONLY THOSE WHO HAVE

    LISTENED TO THE WORD AND REPENTED OF THEIR SINS HAVE ENTERED THE

    KINGDOM. IT WAS NOT THE CASE WITH THE LEARNED AND THE CLEVER : CHIEF

    PRIESTS AND ALL THOSE WHO STOOD BY THEM.

    Thomas Poovathinkal

  • Vstickley

    It is only my opinion and I understand that I may be wrong but the contents of the card are not really going to inspire a pride in being Catholic.

    I personally think that something a little more brooding rather than fluffy would have been better. Something a little more darker, mysterious and something that separates our great faith from the wishywashy Christianity that is creating the popular opinon that “All Christians are wimpy pacifists that worship the bearded sky man and have no rational thoughts”.

    Our faith is has enough resources to inspire an inquisitve mind. I certainly would be more interested in Islam/Greek Orthodoxy if I were not already a beleiver purely because it looks identifiable and interesting. Why dont we use our mysterious nature, stop being soft, bland and modern.

    Heavy I know. I do appreciate their efforts but the contenct of the card as it is would probably render it hidden at the back of my wallet or as a page marker in my Missal.