.- This coming fall the School of Church Communications at Romeâs Pontifical University of the Holy Cross will be offering a one-week seminar designed to provide religion journalists with an array of tools to strengthen their coverage of todayâs Roman Catholic Church.
A press release from the university explains that the seminar will be titled, âThe Church Up Close: Covering Catholicism in the Age of Benedict XVI,â and be held in Rome from September 8 to September 14, 2008. Any working journalist may attend the English language seminar, but space is limited.
Speakers will include Cardinal Francis Stafford (former archbishop of Denver and head of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, now Apostolic Penitentiary), Rev. Brian Ferme (former dean of Catholic University of Americaâs canon law department and now head of a new school of canon law in Venice), Rev. David Jaeger, O.F.M. (the Holy Seeâs expert on relations with Israel) and Francis Campbell (the British Ambassador to the Holy See).
The idea for the week-long class was born out of the success of a seminar that the Holy Crossâ School of Church Communications already offers, according to school dean Prof. Diego Contreras.
âIn essence, âThe Church Up Closeâ seminar is a condensed version of a series of classes that our School already offers â once a month, in Italian - during the academic year for Rome-based âvaticanisti.â The success of that series inspired us to offer a similar program - all in one week, and in English - for journalists who are not permanently based in Rome,â Contreras explained.
In addition to classroom sessions, the fall seminar also features on-site visits and personal meetings with curial officials and veteran Vatican correspondents. The seminar aims to give journalists a survey of the Vaticanâs operations, an in-depth analysis of specific hot-button issues facing the Church and insights into the Popeâs leadership of the worldâs largest church.
Fr. John Wauck, one of the seminarâs organizers, says he thinks journalists will be helped by the course because, âCovering an institution as old and as large as the Catholic Church has always been a huge challenge, and in todayâs shrinking world, itâs becoming ever more necessary to tell even local stories about the Church from a global perspective. The seminar should help reporters do that. Whatâs more, Rome is an ideal setting for reflecting on religion and the media with journalists from around the world.â
Detailed information about âThe Church Up Closeâ seminar can be found at http://www.church-communication.net/