Turn controversy into opportunity with Reframe

Ever felt at a loss in conversations with colleagues and friends about the Church and Catholicism? It’s tough when you’re asked about a controversial issue…perhaps you try to avoid the subject altogether? Why not come along to this workshop by Catholic Voices? Reframe is an inspiring and practical experience of applying the wisdom and genius of the heart of the Gospel to ‘hot-button’ and relevant topics. Engaging and well-trained speakers want to disseminate the experience of Catholic Voices in sharing the Church’s story in the media. They can help ordinary Catholics to change controversy into an opportunity to share that story in conversations at work and at home.

This weekend’s event at Campion School, Hornchurch (RM11 3BX) is the last opportunity to take part in a Reframe workshop in our diocese – so if you are interested or just curious come along on Saturday, it is free! It starts with coffee and pastries at 10am and finishes at 3pm. You can read more below, as one participant at the Chelmsford event gives his impressions.

Email Adele for more information or to add your name to the list of participants on [email protected]


A personal view by George Kolankiewicz

“We gathered at tables, about 25 of us, with an attendant intermediary or guide to help the process along. The opening message from our lively and engaging speaker Brenden  who, using examples from his personal family life, was to posit the tension in the Reframe method between Clarity and Charity.  In any confrontation where Catholic beliefs and practises were challenged we were encouraged to see the opportunity to make clear the Church’s teaching in a  spirit of understanding.

Finding the positive in the views of others, their charitable or well-meaning intentions, in order to show that we shared views and values rather than being divided by them. This could be achieved by the Reframe method, which involved identifying the stereotype behind our critic’s view, extracting the positive rather than negative contained therein and then Reframing that view within a broader context.

Don’t get mad, simply Reframe, step back, shed light not heat, engage in a joyful dialogue and come to win over our adversary. In many ways we were admonished to enter into the chaos which often informed the opinions of the other. The technique provided tools such as the advice to think in threes, points to be made, remember to say YES, compassion counts, suffering with the anger of the other. Watchwords such as avoiding robotics, ready made arguments, and remembering that the dialogue is not about YOU and your dignity, and about witnessing not winning.  Such an approach could catch our doubter by surprise, by not trotting out the usual response but embracing their views and criticisms to set out that what we share is greater than what we disagree over.

The day included interactive exercises, constant feedback and question time so that at the end of this session we knew how we might become “confident Catholics” who can make the most of “turning controversy into opportunity” as the leaflet rightly says.  Obviously such a method only comes to life when we address actual questions from ecology to sex abuse, equality and wealth including that of the Church. But I suspect that the more often we deploy this method across as many issues as possible the more gentle and loving we will become in our words of witness.”

To find out about Catholic Voices, visit www.CatholicVoices.org.uk