USCCB Twitter Team — Today’s ‘Real Catholics of Genius’

Ordinary lay and clergy Catholics gave an avalanche of responses to the U.S. bishops’ Twitter team, which asked people why they were Catholic, and brought their voices into a meeting where they ordinarily are not present.

If Budweiser were ever to launch a “Real Catholics of Genius” campaign — a variation on the “Real Men of Genius” campaign that honored with humor the ordinary people we may take for granted — the clear winner from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ June 2019 meeting would have been the person (or team) behind the USCCB’s Twitter handle.

The U.S. bishops’ meetings are restricted environments where the bishops mainly engage each other, and direct engagement with the laity comes in the form of either lay experts or the media. Since the laity have no direct representation at these national meetings, bishops do not face the prospect of ordinary lay persons going up to the podium to speak their mind.

But the @USCCB Twitter handle broke through this wall, and gave ordinary lay and clergy Catholics a real opportunity to speak their voice directly and be heard on the activities of a conference dominated almost exclusively by bishops. Starting with this one startling question on June 11, the @USCCB Twitter engaged people with much needed candor and humility, and received an avalanche of responses:

Many gave varying responses, although the most important by far and away for why people stayed Catholic was Jesus Christ and his presence in the Holy Eucharist. Others cited the importance of the Virgin Mary and the saints; the witness of mentors, family members, and faithful clergy; the Church’s clear teaching and truth of its doctrines; the beauty of the Church’s traditions; the Latin Mass (extraordinary form); Catholic colleges, and others as factors in their decision to stay Catholic.

The one group that did fairly poorly in terms of positive feedback was the U.S. bishops, with some exceptions. Many people cited a decision to embrace their Catholic faith despite their leaders.

Many Catholics expressed a great deal of pain, and thankfulness that at least the person behind the USCCB twitter-handle was personally acknowledging and listening to them, without trying to argue the bishops were doing a tremendous job.

By the last day of the conference, June 13, the @USCCB Twitter question had racked up more than 1,300 responses, 202 retweets, and 628 likes. No other @USCCB Twitter post came close in terms of bringing ordinary Catholic voices into the room of the bishops’ conference meeting. 

So, we salute you, @USCCB Twitter team. For all you do, this Bud’s for you.