By Marshall Connolly (Catholic Online)
4/29/2012 (3 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
This is a time of fierce partisan divide in our country and faithful Catholics are facing a quandary over how they should spend their votes. Enter, Test of Fire, a faith-based video that reinforces the non-negotiable issues for Catholics, and what should be non-negotiable issues for all. Recently, I had the opportunity to interview Al Silva, the Executive Vice President of Catholics Called to Witness, and Adriana Gonzalez, co-founder of the organization, who produced the video.
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Catholics Called to Witness are two husband-and-wife teams of devoted Catholic faithful from Florida that have come together to promote the three non-negotiable principles as expressed by Pope Benedict XVI. Those principles are:
-Protection of life in all its stages, from the first moment of conception until natural death.
-Recognition and promotion of the natural structure of the family - as a union between one man and one woman based on marriage - and its defense from attempts to make it juridical equivalent to radically different forms of union which in reality harm it and contribute to its destabilization, obscuring its particular character and its irreplaceable social role.
-The protection of the right of parents to educate their children.
COL (Catholic Online): What inspired Test of Fire?
SILVA: The inspiration for the Test of Fire was really a combination of the attacks on our religious freedoms and the need for all Catholics to understand the teachings of the Church, regarding the non-negotiables of protection of life at all stages, and marriage between one man and one woman. Our nation was founded on the principle of religious liberty. It is a structural pillar that holds up the framework of our nation. If religious liberty is lost for one group, even those who claim to be non-religious will suffer the loss. These were the inspirations that led to the creation of the Test of Fire.
COL: How was Test of Fire Produced?
SILVA: Creative Lab, LLC was our partner in producing the video. The concept and script was really a combination of our input and Creative Lab's creativity. It was all done over a cup of coffee at the local coffee shop.
COL: Was production of the video costly?
SILVA: Costly? We feel that the money that was invested in the production of the video was just that, an investment. All worthwhile things are costly in money, time, or effort (or all three!), but we are confident that we will be repaid with a greater reward for doing God's work.
COL: Have you produced any other videos or material for distribution?
Our website has several resources available free of charge. We offer two brochures, one on the nonnegotiable principles according to Pope Benedict XVI and the other regarding the HHS mandate. Additionally, a high-resolution version of the Test of Fire can be downloaded from the site. We will also have "I Stand for Religious Freedom" car magnets available soon.
COL: Have you gotten any negative attention because of your efforts and how have you handled it?
SILVA: Yes. We communicate with most who do not agree with our position on the issues. We simply state the position of the Church on the nonnegotiable principles and continue to pray for those that do not agree. Our mission is really to get to those people that do not agree with our position with the hope that, if it is God's will, He will use us as instruments to reach their hearts and minds with the Gospel and the Church's teachings.
COL: What are your plans for the future?
SILVA: Wow! Only the good Lord knows. The response from our non-Catholic brothers and sisters has been tremendous. The video has been an instrument of unity. Many of these brothers and sisters have reached out to us and asked for a "non-Catholic" version of the video to share. As such, we produced a new version of the video that will be released soon. Stay tuned for details. We are coordinating with non-Catholic Christian resources to spread the word more, as these are human issues, not just Catholic issues. Additionally, we are producing a Spanish version of the video.
We have been so blessed in our short time of existence (since February). All we want to do is to let God guide us and respond to that guidance in a positive way. Many have reached out to us wanting to be area leaders, spreading the message locally in their communities. We believe this is a great idea. We would love to have teams of people holding educational events all over the country, so we will be developing those support materials.
COL: Test of Fire may certainly be the best educational ad we've seen to date. The ad is refreshingly simple, straightforward, and states the issues without the need to be critical or make accusations. It's a remarkable production that stands in brilliant contrast to the multi-million dollar ads out there and demonstrates what good can come of prayer and diligence even without millions of dollars in sponsorships.
Check back with Catholic Online as we follow Catholics Called to Witness and their prayerful, inspired campaign to promote the Holy Father's message for all humanity.
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