More than ten years ago at one of Maryknoll's many "brainstorming" sessions about how we can once again make Maryknoll a household word among Catholics, the idea surfaced (modesty forbids me from saying from whom) that Fr. Roy Bourgeois and the SOA watch should be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. I even blogged about it earlier.
Anyway, thanks to Fr. Roy, Maryknoll is once again becoming a household word though not in the way we had hoped. Then, go to find out, Roy and SOAW have indeed been nominated for the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize by the Society of Friends (Quakers) Service Committee. You can read their statement here: http://www.commondreams.org/newswire/2009/11/22/
Themselves a Peace Prize winner, the SFSC is only one of many former winners who may be inclined to vote for Fr. Roy. These include Desmond Tutu from South Africa, Rigobertto Menchu from Guatemala and Wangari Muta Maathai from Tanzania. (Kim Dae Jung, another winner and friend of Maryknoll from Korea, passed away in August 2009.)
My point is this: imagine if Roy and SOAW win. The Christian in us should probably rejoice because the causes of justice for Latin America and equality in the Church have come to the fore and public discussion of these following the media attention can only help clear the air. The pragmatist in us realizes we're screwed. No matter how we spin it, no way does Maryknoll come out looking good.
Now more than ever we need an articulate, street-smart, media savvy, professional journalist for our Media Rep who can think on his/her feet and cultivate that kind of relationship with both Catholic and secular press people that will see us through times of both crises and celebration.
Here at the Knoll, reaction to the news about Maryknoll's discontinuing of funding the SOAW has been mostly one of confusion and disappointment---and not a little anger. Many have checked out the video in the link below and concluded that that side of the story has not gotten out and as a result Maryknoll's reputation is suffering. I know for a fact we have lost supporters over this. This only underscores the URGENCY to hire a full-time, experienced, pro-active public media-relations rep, but to date no posting has been made, internally or externally, to fill this position.
Inertia may indeed prove our undoing.