Bishops launch parliamentary internship scheme

 In a move aimed at bolstering the work of Catholics in public life the Catholic Bishops' of England & Wales is set to establish a Parliamentary Internship Scheme this year. The scheme, which is designed to build on the 1996 Bishops' Conference publication on Social Teaching, The Common Good, will see recently qualified graduates embark on a 10 month programme containing four key elements. They will work with a Christian MP, usually for four days a week, but also attending some constituency visits, typically on Fridays. During the winter and spring terms, they will join part time MA students at Heythrop College at the University of London in studying Catholic social teaching and the foundations of Christian ethics. Students will also take part in a programme on some Fridays, organized by the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales, aimed at introducing interns to its work and those of its agencies. Finally, and essentially, each intern will be provided with spiritual director by Heythrop College and they will be guided through a retreat at the end of the year to allow them to reflect on the experiences they have shared and to reflect on their next steps. The scheme, to be launched at a reception at the Speaker's House in the Palace of Westminster tomorrow, was welcomed by the Catholic Archbishop of Cardiff, Peter Smith, who thanked the Speaker for making his residence available for the launch and repeated the Catholic Bishops' commitment to work in public life saying: "The Common Good outlined very clearly the Catholic and Christian tradition of public service in all the major British political parties. We would wish to once again declare our respect and gratitude towards all those who undertake the responsibilities of political life, whatever party they belong to. "Politics is an honourable vocation, which often exacts great personal cost from those who engage in it, and from their families. "The scheme we are launching is a small step in encouraging Catholics to consider a vocation in public life and to encourage the political community to engage with us in this project. "This is an exciting prospect and I extend my warm thanks to Mr Speaker, parliamentarians of all parties who have assisted us in establishing this scheme and the Christian agency, CARE, whose advice and guidance have been invaluable." source: CCS

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