Catholic involvement in community organising serves common good

On 20 November 2018, the Centre for Theology and Community (CTC) launched a new report, ‘Realities are Greater than Ideas’, on evangelisation, Catholicism and Community Organising. Written by Dunstan Rodrigues, with essays by Anna Rowlands, St Hilda Associate Professor of Catholic Social Thought & Practice, University of Durham, and CTC’s Director Canon Dr Angus Ritchie, it combines stories from churches and chaplaincies with reflection on Catholic social teaching.

The report was funded by CSAN and the Catholic Diocese of Brentwood. CSAN Chief Executive Phil McCarthy welcomed the report as “a timely contribution to national debates on what it means to be a ‘Church of the poor’, and how Catholics can best address powerful systems that can increase or reduce division in our society.” He said that CSAN “have been pleased to support CTC in reflecting on how a process of community organising, in this case with Citizens UK, can shape Christians who, as Pope Francis yearns, are on the streets and not clinging to their own security.”

Steve Webb, Development Director in the Diocese of Brentwood said: “The Church sets before the world the ideal of a civilisation of love and this report will help many to turn the ideal into a local reality. Working together as a Catholic community in the wider community will achieve more than acting alone. As we seek to discover new ways to evangelise our diocese, we express our gratitude to the authors for providing materials that will foster (one to one) conversation and lead to action for the common good.”

The report shows a significant amount of progress on the developments recounted in an earlier report, ‘In the Middle of Our Street’, published by the former Catholic Agency for Social Concern in 2002.

Realities are Greater than Ideas is available to download here (pdf, 4mb).