Building the relationship between faith, politics, and what it means to live out a vocation in public life
Two possible internship streamsAn internship with Faith in Politics involves working either in the office of a Member or Parliament or in the public affairs office at CAFOD, the overseas aid agency of the Catholic Church in England and Wales. There are three places available in Parliament, and one place at CAFOD. Applicants are welcome to apply for both but will only be considered for the positions for which they have applied.
There are four key pillars central to the Faith in Politics experienceThere are four key pillars central to the Faith in Politics experience: faith, learning, pilgrimage and community. Together with their work placements, these four pillars form the unique foundation of Catholic faith and spiritual formation which this scheme provides for those who believe they may have a vocation to public service in politics or public affairs.
The interns are embedded in the Catholic Social Teaching of the Church as a core part of their year on the scheme. They take part in a monthly seminar programme, in which experts in aspects of Catholic Social Teaching will join the group for a session of discussion and debate on a particular aspect of Catholic Social Teaching. These sessions focus on practical applications of Catholic Social Teaching in public life and society more widely, for example, domestic abuse, criminal justice, dignity in the workplace, and more.
Combined with these monthly sessions is a programme of volunteering opportunities and additional meetings with Catholics in public life and visits to organisations who are all putting the Church’s social teaching into action in their daily lives. This includes meetings with Members of Parliament, journalists and businesspeople, to a day at Tilbury Docks to learn about the work of Apostleship of the Sea, to visiting a prison where the interns in learning about the work of prison chaplaincy.
The aim of this multi-faceted programme of “learning, seeing and doing” is for the interns to immerse themselves in discussion, debate and action on the social teaching of the Church and contemporary issues. The result will be that the interns are well-versed in Catholic Social Teaching and its practical application.
The interns participate on two foreign trips during their year on the scheme. The first is a trip to the Holy Land, which will take place in March 2022. The second is a visit to Rome and the Holy See, which will take place in May 2022.
While the interns’ relationships with each other and the scheme’s leadership grows throughout the year, it is often on these once-in-a-lifetime foreign visits that a real team dynamic is built and fostered.
A new addition to the internship scheme from 2021, the visit to the Holy Land will consist partly of pilgrimage, and also as a way to learn about the Catholic Church and the relationship between faith and politics in this region.
The Christian community in the Holy Land represents a physical link between the modern world and the life and times of Christ – they are the ‘living stones’ of our faith. We hope that this trip will help the interns to be able to contextualise and understand the rich and often complex history of our faith, and the politics challenges which this region continues to face today.
The interns have visited Rome each year since the scheme began, and it is without doubt one of the highlights of the year. The trip has two main focuses: pilgrimage and learning about the Holy See. Over the years, we have built good relationships with the people with whom the interns meet, including officials in the Holy See and the British Embassy. The trip’s pilgrimage focus includes a day trip to Assisi, Mass every day in churches around Rome, including a chapel in St Peter’s Basilica, and a visit to the Venerable English College. Plenty of time is also allocated for walking around Rome, learning about its ancient and more recent history and politics, and of course sampling its famous food!