UK bishops to distribute cards designed to help Catholics identify themselves as Catholics

I found this on the site of the UK’s best Catholic weekly, The Catholic Herald.

A card communicating that its carrier is a baptised Catholic will be distributed nationally on behalf of the bishops of England and Wales.

The Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales are distributing one million cards to 24 dioceses including the Bishopric of the Forces and the ordinariate in order to cultivate evangelisation among Catholics.

The credit-card-size resource features on one side a clear statement that the carrier is a Catholic and a list of six things that Catholics are called to do.

There is also a sentence that reads: “In the event of an emergency, please call a Catholic priest.”

The other side of the card has a quote from Blessed John Henry Newman, focusing on the call to serve and affirming that everyone has a mission.

Bishop Kieran Conry of Arundel and Brighton, chairman of the bishops’ Department for Evangelisation and Catechesis, said: “We all carry a variety of cards in our purses and wallets which reflect something of our identity and the things that are important to us. The faith card for Catholics aims to offer a daily reminder of what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ. We can’t summarise the whole of our faith in bullet points, but we hope that the card simply inspires people to do, read and learn more.”

The bishop added: “The card is also designed to give Catholics confidence to share their faith – often people need help knowing what to say. Faith is a not a private matter. This is something that Pope Benedict reminded the Catholic community in his recent letter announcing a Year of Faith, beginning in October 2012. Carrying a faith card takes courage, it signals to others, every time you use your wallet or purse, that you believe in God, that your life has a purpose, that you are trying to love and serve your neighbour. We hope that Catholics will use it to witness to their faith. If someone asks a question about Catholicism, a starting point could be to show the card and to take it from there.”

The resource is free and will be distributed to diocesan offices during February and March 2012 for local circulation.

I would add a note.

There can be no renewal of any aspect of our Catholic lives and identity without first a revitalization of our liturgical worship.

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  1. hmmm, actually not a bad idea…though I might re-phrase some of the sentences. and add with the 62 Rituale for the bottom sentence.

  2. Six things that call for no specific actions? Maybe, but how about the six Precepts of the Church?

    -To attend Holy Mass on Sundays and holy days of obligation and to refrain from servile work
    -To Confess our sins at least once a year (traditionally done during Lent)
    -To receive Holy Communion at least once a year during the Easter Season (known as the “Easter duty”)
    -To observe the days of fasting and abstinence
    – To help contribute to the support of our pastors and provide for the needs of the Church according to one’s abilities and station in life
    -To obey the marriage laws of the Church

    Fr. Z's Gold Star Award's

  3. flyfree432 says:

    Really? We need to transform an entire world-wide culture of death and the bishops are passing out a 5 cent card? Restore the liturgy, teach Catholic faith and morals. Advocate for strong Catholic family life. Okay, its fine as inexpensive marketing, but I hope this isn’t considered an evangelistic campaign.

  4. irishgirl says:

    I’d rather keep things simple and to the point: ‘I am a Catholic-please call a priest’.
    ‘Nuff said’….
    This card is ‘too wordy’…okay, keep the quote from Blessed Cardinal Newman, but the rest of it…meh…

  5. Nice idea, I carry a pewter medalian on my keychain that is similar, but it says in French that “I am Catholic, in case of an emergency please call a priest.” How about a Catholic photo ID?

  6. anilwang says:

    I agree with Henry Edwards.

    The list on the cards are okay, but without the precepts of the Church, particularly the one on marriage, everything falls apart including the liturgy.

    Ephesians 5:32 makes it clear that the Church and marriage are fundamentally intertwined. Degrade one and the other is degraded. Even the Liturgy is degraded. If marriage is temporary and only supposed to be a source of self gratification, then we will expect the liturgy (the Wedding Feast of the Lamb) to be for our gratification only. So send in the clowns, and the strike up the band, ’cause it’s all about me and Jesus.

  7. Brad says:

    Do I as a layman “celebrate” the sacraments?

  8. Consilio et Impetu says:

    I like the idea of such a card as a reminder of what we are called to do as Catholics. I feel that for the hierarchy to help us rediscover our Catholic identity perhaps a pamphlet/booklet with:
    The Ten Commandments
    The Precepts of the Church
    The Spiritual and Corporal Works of Mercy
    The Basic Catholic Prayers: Sign of the Cross, Lord’s Prayer, Hail Mary, Glory Be, Act of Contrition, etc.
    Guide for an Daily Examination of Conscience
    included as part of its contents.
    Other “reminder” cards may be made available for Clergy and Religious with a reminder asking them do they remember why they entered the Religious Life, why they should wear appropriate street clothing and habits that would make them easily identifiable as priests and religious.
    I know it is not going to happen but it’s nice to think it should.
    As for which Rite of Mass should be celebrated; I love both Rites provided they are celebrated with reverence while “Saying ONLY the Black, Doing ONLY the Red”. Too many “options” in the Novus Ordo Rite.
    Now that the very much improved English translation is in use in the U.S.A., the next, very important step, is to make sure the Rubrics are adhered to, no excuses.
    Then move along to the poor music and much too secular hymns that need an Imprimi Potest, Imprimatur and Nihil Obstat approval.

  9. anilwang says:


    Yes, you celebrate the sacraments. See Part 2 of the Catechism:

    Recognize that there are many meanings to the word “celebrate” and to “party” or to “perform a ceremony” are only two of those meanings:

  10. kittenchan says:

    I think it’s weird to say “Celebrate the sacraments regularly.” It doesn’t make sense to me; it seems vague, as though the writer didn’t know what he meant by saying that. Ideally, we would participate in only one (the Blessed Sacrament) regularly. Confession is on an as-needed basis (surely we should not be encouraged to mortally sin regularly just to go to Confession regularly), likewise anointing of the sick is on an as-needed basis, baptism and holy orders can happen only once, and hopefully no one has spouses dying like clockwork in order to remarry regularly.

  11. Finarfin says:

    I was going to say that listing the 6 precepts of the Church would be better, but Henry Edwards beat me to it.

  12. Tony from Oz says:

    I’m with Irishgirl on this: the essence of carrying an emergency card like this – like a diabetics card etc – is to indicate one is a Catholic in need of the the last rites.

    The catechetical aspect is a nice idea but misplaced in this context. You’re in a car accident. An assisting person/rescuer grabs your wallet to ascertain your identity and finds the card:

    ‘I am a Catholic -in case of an emergency – please contact a priest, immediately!”

    I think that a small booklet containing the precepts of the Church, the virtues, commandments etc is worthy as a separate exercise as a send out to all Catholics, sure – but to attempt to put all that on a laminated wallet insert renders it wordy and obscures the essential message, methinks!

  13. Norah says:

    I agree with the people who have said that all is needed is a card which says: I am a Catholic, in the event of an accident or emergency please contact a priest.

    I obtained a Catholic Identity Card which is the size of a credit card, has a picture of Pope Benedict on it and the above message from

    Better for the bishops of England and Wales to clean out the Augean Stables which is’ Catholic’ Education but I guess that printing and distributing these cards is much easier and looks good. Moving the deckchairs on the Titanic anyone?

  14. Brad says:

    Anilwang, thank you. I just get nervous with any blurring of the lines between priest and pew. Gun-shy! But who isn’t these days.

    I know Father is the celebrant. I, on the other hoof, stop chewing my cud at least one hour prior and then occasionally go “baaaahhhh”. :-)

  15. Johnno says:

    Should add…

    – Vow to live out the moral dictates of God given through His Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church as perfectly as possible by the grace of God.

    Maybe there’s a shorter way to say that so it fits on the card…

    – To live in accordance with ALL the Church’s moral teachings.

    ‘ALL’ should be capitalized, bolded and underlined.

  16. APX says:

    Has anyone ever had success using a card in their wallet? I would think EMT’s would be more likely to check something such as a medi-alert bracelet than anything.

  17. Jack Regan says:

    I really like this idea, and as a Catholic living in England I’ll be carrying my card proudly.

    Whenever Bishops launch a high profile initiative, there is always far more criticism than praise. People always respond by saying ‘Ah, so why can’t the Bishops be doing [insert hobbyhorse here]

    While some of the ‘why can’t they…‘ ideas are probably quite good ones, it doesn’t change the fact that this is objectively a very good idea.

    I would also politely challenge the commenter who said that the card notes ‘Six things that call for no specific actions.’ I think that to live these six things out properly in our lives is one heck of a great challenge, and something that can change the world if every Catholic can accomplish them.

    Take the first and the fifth points for instance. Okay, so they may be put in language that some Catholics might not find very meaty, but just imagine if every single Catholic in the world did those two things well and for the glory of God!!

  18. Supertradmum says:

    Son of Trypho,

    Young people like it, or the idea of it, as it has not been passed out yet, according the a Confirmation teacher I spoke with yesterday in Surrey. But, the reference to Bishop Conry is unfair and dated, as since your referenced article, he has come out several times against the current government’s efforts to push through civil marriage (see my blog) and Bishop Conry’s diocese has the great Father Ray Blake and others which celebrate the EF. I support this Bishop and pray for him. People change, so do bishops, as we have seen this week.

  19. Finarfin says:

    I think that if the bishops just wanted to hand people cards that stated that “I am a Catholic, in case of an emergency, call a priest”, then they should just have that (and in larger print, I may add). But since they are the ones who first decided to also add what it means to be a Catholic, I think that having the 6 Precepts of the Church is a better list than something that could be said also of Anglicans (except the sacraments part).

  20. Lotsoflittlekids says:

    You can order your own “I am a Catholic” prayer card from I’ve ordered quite a bit from them and they even have some cards in Latin. It’s a small company and they take suggestions (check out the vocational discernment card!). So, maybe if enough of us ask, they’ll change to the traditional versions on all the cards. As for success with it, thanks be to God I haven’t had any experience!

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