A History of Speaking Out: The Catholic League

Blog » A History of Speaking Out: The Catholic League

Posted on 07 Mar 2013 16:42

I read a very interesting document that was issued on the Catholic League’s online newsletter, the Catalyst. The Catholic League is an organization that advocates and promotes Christianity and the civil rights of all people. Not one to wait on the sidelines, the Catholic League is a very active organization that acts immediately, especially when the Catholic Church is bashed in any way by the media; it essentially serves as an incredibly verbal and outgoing defense of the Church, and it has many members in the United States. Someone who had no knowledge of the Catholic League could infer a great deal about this discourse community, simply by skimming the articles they issue online and seeing how the organization communicates.

Defending the Catholic Church and civil rights is the top priority of the Catholic League. The Catholic League concerns itself primarily with outspoken anti-Catholics and with people who try to take religion out of holidays. A prime example of this concern is in the article I read in which a nursing home removed a Christmas tree from the building saying it was a “religious symbol.” The article continues to explain how the Catholic League acted by sending the email of the Human Resources Department of the nursing home out on its own mailing list, which goes to thousands of Catholic League members, in order for members to voice their protest. Email and newsletters are the two main modes of communication within this community. The nursing home finally decided to return the tree for the elderly to enjoy on Christmas (after receiving many angry). This example is one of the less important ones, however the article and the style in which it was written divulges a plethora of information about the community itself.

The article clearly was written by an inside member of the Catholic League, and probably someone who is quite involved since this particular article made the cover of the newsletter. The article promotes the Catholic ideas within, and it promotes taking a stand against those who wish to slander the Church and secularize society. The article is also written for an insider audience; rather than stating what the “Catholic League” has done, the author uses the royal “we” to describe what the organization has accomplished as of late. For example, this quote provides insight as to who was the intended audience of the article: “While it may be premature to say our side has won, we’re definitely gaining momentum, and our foes are in retreat” (Protest Works for Seniors; Christmas Foes Retreat, front page Catalyst, January/ February Issue 2013). This sentence from the conclusion of a rousing article shows not only how the intended audience is other insiders of this discourse community, but also how the Catholic League views anyone who disagrees with their ideology as “foes.” Using words like “foes” as part of its lexis, the Catholic League is very willing to argue with just about anyone who had different ideas from them; whether this is always a good or bad thing is besides the point, however.

I found that the Catholic League voices its own opinions very often, as can be seen by the way it responded to a small act such as removing a Christmas tree from a nursing home in California. I can see that its members are very involved and communicate very effectively via email and news bulletins to keep members aware of what issues have been brought before them and the Church recently. The Catholic League is definitely an interesting discourse community to observe in action, and I think it would be an interesting organization to research even more for our midterm.

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