Catholic Professionals: Form a Society
South African Catholic involvement in the wider society – Paul Goller proposes a body of Catholic Professionals involved in discussion and dialogue, research and promotion in all areas of society.
Paul Goller, Johannesburg – As part of your admirable attempt through editorials to revitalise and professionalise South African Catholic involvement in the wider society (YCW in the working world, a media strategy, and so on), I offer my proposal for a Catholic graduate body.
I have mentioned this idea to a few people who have welcomed it. I propose that such a Catholic graduate society would be guided by certain principles.
First, there should be fundamental elements:
- Role of Catholic professionals in SA and other African societies
- Role of Catholics in their particular professional bodies
- Role of laypeople in the Church organisationally and theologically
- Participation in training and formation in SA seminaries
- Critique of poverty, inequality and unemployment
- Combating racism and other prejudices
Next, we’d engage in activities:
- Promotion of discussion and dialogue within the Church and, later, ecumenically
- Support for St Augustine College and Catholic student bodies
- Scholarships for Catholic students at secular universities
- Promotion of research in relevant spheres and, later perhaps, a loose association of Catholic academics
- Participation in national higher-education structure debates and discussions
- Development of policy on engagement as a body in SA society and its issues
Then, there’s the question of membership:
- Catholic university graduates: full membership
- Retired Catholic graduates: non-voting membership
- Other tertiary institutions?
- Priests? Deacons? Religious?
- Individual honorary membership
Possible models could be the Newman Association (UK) and bodies affiliated with Pax Romana, the international federation of Catholic intellectuals (university students and graduates), one of the oldest international lay Catholic movements with membership from other African countries.
Is there a group of younger graduates who would like to run with the idea?