Bishops draw up entry rules for Catholic Directory

 The Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales has published new criteria for entry into the societies section of the Catholic Directory of England and Wales, the Catholic Media Office announced yesterday. A booklet outlining the criteria: 'National Catholic Societies', has been sent to all societies listed in the 2001 Directory, and is also available on request. The criteria will first operate from the 2002 edition. The introduction to the booklet describes the development and growth of the Catholic Directory since 1790. It says: 'The proliferation of organisations is a sign of vitality and of a greater participation by so many in the work of proclaiming the Gospel and spreading the Catholic faith. However, the uneven pattern of growth has meant that no clear definition of terms used for entry into the formal listing of the Directory appears ever to have been agreed. Ecclesiastical recognition is given to organisations so that they may be publicly known both as Catholic and of national significance.' In future, the criteria state that a listed organisation must have: '1. A fundamental commitment to the teaching and practice of the Catholic Church.. '2. A membership widely distributed in the area covered by the Catholic Directory, or an involvement in work properly described as being of national importance.' Applying organisations must provide a number of details in writing, including key objectives and current programme, distribution, and reasons for seeking entry into the Directory. They must also provide an annual update. Applications will be received by a panel, chaired by a bishop, and, if there are any objections, the organisation may make further representations. A covering letter in the mailing to existing societies thanks their convenors for their commitment, and invites the societies to see the applications exercise as an opportunity to refresh their perception of their mission. At its meeting in November 2000, the Bishops' Conference of England and Wales discussed and approved the criteria, and appointed a panel to oversee applications. The members of the panel are Bishop Vincent Malone (Chair), Fr John Danson (Secretary) and Mgr David Hogan. Applications for the 2002 edition of the Catholic Directory must reach the Secretary by 30 April 2001. CMO